Saturday, April 26, 2014


POLITICS OF DIVISION - WHO MAY BENEFIT 


The battle of ballot in Telangana region of AP, in all likelihood attaining the status of a separate state from 2nd of June, throws up interesting possibilities. It is a test case for psephologists who depend on sampling and correlate the results with the pattern of voting in previous elections. For, trends in previous elections here do not give an exact picture of what may happen on 30th April. 

Previous elections, more so, by-elections were fought on more of an emotional platform, with separate state demand high on agenda of political parties and people too emotionally driven by the craving. But, there is a saying

"जो खुशि इन्तेजार मै है ओ मिलन मै नही!'

The pleasure of waiting is more pleasant than the pleasure of getting. In the natural course, people tend to forget about the struggle for the state and try to pitch themselves in the right spot at the right moment to grow and help the state grow. Hence, the percentage of 'emotional vote' tends to reduce. This is one factor.

Congress, facing decimation in polls pan India, gambled with the division of state at the last moment, eyeing at least 16 out of 17 seats in the polls in alliance with or merger of TRS. It chewed more than it can swallow, by losing out totally in the other 25 seats of the state. Its calculations went wrong on two counts. First was its gross miscalculation that BJP and TDP would not allow it to pass the bill, come what may, for fear of losing out in Seema Andhra. But both the parties played their dice well so as to see that they lose much neither side. Second was miscalculation of KCR's moves.

The maverick KCR, while keeping Congress in good spirits, kept his options open. One was his bargain for CM post and plum posts for his family. Congress could not afford CM post as that would have led to large scale desertions from the party in Telangana too. The second option was to ally with BJP, which was scuttled successfully by the TDP boss playing cards close to his chest. This is a second factor that influences the poll result.

The resultant effect is the triangular contest in the region. Congress was very strong in the region followed by TDP and then TRS. But with the struggle reaching a crescendo, TRS picked up fast at the cost of both Congress and TDP. BJP on its part remained pro-separation all the years and improved vote share marginally. It would have been a one way fight, had TRS and Congress allied. It would have still been a split between these two parties of votes and seats, had the leaders of both parties not entered into the nastiest war of words forgetting their common adversary, NDA that picked up fast post alliance. The diatribe between these two strong protagonists of separate state reached such levels that NDA leaders are able to talk more of development and social justice and less of TRS and Congress.

Congress, having lost the first round is arraying a line of national leaders to drive home the point that TRS had no role play in the division of state. TRS, on its part, is trying to scuttle the Congress game plan by talking about the past struggle and placing itself as champions of Telangana. BJP is trying to drive home the point that if they have not helped in passing the bill the division would have halted in the tracks. TDP, tactically, is trying not to talk of the past but about the future.

So, what happens now? The largest block of vote is pro-Telangana vote that is getting split between Congress and TRS, BJP too taking a minor chunk. With anti incumbency haunting Congress everywhere, it is TRS that gains much of this. With Modi wave sweeping across, part of  the anti incumbency vote of Congress shifts to NDA. TDP has strong cadre base and its core vote remains intact, though it may not gain much post split. 

With three strong contenders for vote in the fray, in all likelihood the vote split will throw up a hung assembly in the region. But, with all its Machiavellian tactics, Congress is going to be the biggest loser. TRS will be the biggest gainer as people perceive it as their own party and all others outsiders. NDA will be in the reckoning in as far as Modi wave and the split vote between Congress and TRS helps it. Added to this there is vote share of settlers in many constituencies that might go one way or other and not certainly the Congress way as this group perceives the party as villain of a piece.

In all likelihood, it will be a hung assembly with TRS well ahead of others and a bout of uncertainty is to follow given the ambitions of Congressmen to upstage TRS. In the LS polls, it may be a three way split almost equally between the three parties, given the national perspective and some strong candidates of NDA too.


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Friday, April 18, 2014



BREAK UP OF ALLIANCE - WHO WOULD HAVE LOST BIG


All is well that ends well. Curtains are down on the uncertainty about alliance between TDP and BJP. In alliances, as in marriages, there are no winners and no losers. Both sides saw reason and came to a reasonable understanding in order to chase Congress miles away from power corridors so that their walk back there may take a Century. For academic interest, I reproduce my blog as to who would have lost most if the alliance talks failed in the last minute.

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Since morning Social Media is abuzz with one topic. The possible breakdown of alliance between TDP and BJP in Andhra Pradesh. To add fuel to fire, few Telugu channels scrolled news that the TDP leader, in fact, announced break up of the alliance. With great difficulty I grasped what he said. In fact, he sounded as if he were calling off the alliance, without actually saying it loud. The next question is, "Next what?" 

Two possible scenarios emerge. The first one is, the talks will continue till the date of withdrawal of nominations and each side will give space to the other and the alliance will continue. The second scenario is the two parties adopt rigid posturing and the alliance breaks down. What are the consequences of a break down to the two parties?

The first casualty is the alliance that is working smoothly in Telangana. In the Telangana region both parties are equally strong, but weak compared to TRS and Congress. Both have cadres and added to this BJP commands a respect for having helped in carving out the new state. On the other hand, TDP suffers the handicap of having betrayed the cause, though God alone knows the truth. But vacillating stand of the party without spelling out the exact thinking certainly dented its image in the "vocal separate state votaries" of the region. Added to this, BJP went shopping all these years the contention that but for TDP alliance, the NDA Government would have granted the State long back. So, if alliance fails in AP, TDP is going to lose the sympathy of BJP cadres in Telangana and might lose heavily. On its part, BJP does not have many hopes of winning more than 3 LS seats, that it will anyhow win, with strong candidates, pro-Telangana image and the Modi factor. If, by any chance TRS and BJP help each other by sharing votes strategically, loss to TDP will be heavy and NDA will have more LS seats, TRS more Assembly seats and NDA will have a new ally in TRS. It will be double whammy to TDP.

In the AP Region BJP does not have any presence. The choice of its candidates for the very few seats it was allotted, says it all. Its vote share of 3% is spread all over the state and in any seat it commands a decimal percentage of votes. Added to this, there is pent up anger in the region on BJP that it ditched the interests of the region in the last minute. And there is no leader worth the salt in the party. The recent additions like Smt. Purandeswary or Raghuramakrishnam Raju are not mass leaders. The state unit President is a relatively unknown figure in politics. The Modi wave, yet untested in AP, might have added a small percentage of vote spread all over the state. So winning chances of BJP even in one seat on its own are remote. Breaking alliance with TDP, in such circumstances, should mar chances of BJP.

But, that is not to be. In the web of politics woven around the AP region now, the bigger loser will be TDP. After allying with BJP, TDP is riding a high wave of popularity in the region, with at least 17-20 LS seats and 120-130 assembly seats expected to fall into the kitty of the alliance. Out of this BJP would have got two LS seats out of the four allotted to it. So if BJP loses, it loses two seats. As there is no value addition to the TDP from BJP it need not lose any seat. But, it will lose heavily on credibility vote. The TDP already earned a name of changing stance at the drop of a hat. If you go to rural areas this is heard more than the urban centers. "Who believes them?" is a common refrain of the rural folk. This cuts across caste , religion, age and gender. This is an utterly false propaganda spread by YSR & Co., to keep their deeds and deals under wrap. But, gullible public fall prey to small benefits showered on them and can not fathom the inclusive growth that a leader targets that benefits more people over a period of time.  So, the last minute U-turn on alliance will give handle to adversaries to spread this message faster. The already doubtful voter is an easy prey to the propaganda that the leader who can not keep word on alliance under pressure can certainly not stand on his promises in the manifesto. Already, one leader started projecting his age as a factor for his vacillating stand. Now, the adverse campaign will be more prosaic. Common voter wants immediate sops. So he votes to the one who, they believe, stands on his word than the one who vacillates under pressure.

The second factor will be the Loksatta and Janasena parties. Leaders of these two parties who might garner at least 5% vote share between them are more comfortable to do business with Modi and BJP in their larger political interests. Pawan Kalyan commands youth support and JP is seen as a clean face in the murky politics. In between these groups, TDP stands to lose at least 8-9% vote share. If BJP strategically transfers its vote share to YCP, that party will get a fresh lease of life and the close fight or closed fight will be wide open. Here too BJP has an advantage. It may lose two seats but will gain three potential allies with mass base. The only hitch will be Jagan's past. As Modi already declared he would pursue all the pending cases and if charges on Jagan are proved his party will be there in NDA with another leader as RJD is with UPA.  If not proven, it is well and good. It does, politically, not seem unethical or immoral to ally with YCP as long as cases are pursued with vigor..

If, instead, the BJP goes on, contesting all seats with possible strong candidates at few places (drawn from other parties like KS Rao), the anti-YCP vote splits vertically, throwing the apple cart of both BJP and TDP into a tailspin. Congress and JSAP of KKR may play a spoiler role by transferring their vote share to YCP, where they are too weak. After all, they want defeat of both TDP and BJP.

So, in the larger interests of TDP/BJP and in the more immediate interests of the state that does not deserve another term for "political plunderers for profit", (the PPP model) it is prudent TDP talks to BJP and vice versa and save the State from "doom".


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P.S. : The author is a staunch supporter of Mr. Naidu personally and Mr. Modi as a great leader and considers that combination of these two changes the face of the nation and youth will have bright future. If, for whatever reason, the alliance falls through it will be a great dampener in his campaign for "Nation First". This is only an analysis based on experience and is not intended against one of these two great visionaries.