The BJP is the clear front-runner, the Congress is set for major introspection and the regional satraps' national aspirations may take a beating. Aslam Hunani offers his take on what may be in store on counting day, May 16.
May 16, 2014.
A day that will hold great importance in the history of India.
The day when the ballots will be counted for the 16th Lok Sabha election. The day that will bring the curtain down on the suspense on who will form the next government in New Delhi.
Let us not forget that this election is a direct tussle between the personalities of Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi.
One is a Nehru scion who is still trying to make a mark in Indian politics, the other a veteran of state-level politics, chief minister of Gujarat for three consecutive terms.
The Bharatiya Janata Party: It appears that the BJP may be the single largest party to stake a claim for the formation of the next government. Being the largest constituent of the National Democratic Alliance, the BJP may not have much difficulty in cobbling up the numbers to reach the magic figure of 272.
What remains to be seen is how many seats the BJP itself can win this election and what will be the repercussions of the numbers that the BJP manages.
There are many possible scenarios depending on the number of seats that the BJP wins.
There is lot of money riding on the back of Narendra Modi to become prime minister. If the BJP cannot get substantial numbers on its own and falls below 200 seats, it might not be good for its prime ministerial candidate's ambitions.
Many corporates have invested heavily in Narendra Modi as they see him as the messiah who will steer the country out of the mess created by the United Progressive Alliance government. If the results are not favourable, it may mean bad news for these corporates and the BJP as a whole.
Secondly, the Indian stock markets, the barometer that keeps a check on the Indian economy and reacts accordingly, may react adversely to such a scenario and may end up losing a couple of hundred points.
If the BJP can win good numbers on its own, then it will not be difficult for the NDA to form the next government with Modi as prime minister.
The Congress: The Congress will need to introspect if it faces a debacle. Many questions will be raised about Rahul Gandhi's ability to lead from the front.
The party may see changes in the coming months, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's probable inclusion into the leadership to boost the morale of party cadres. After a decade, the Congress will have to play the role of a responsible Opposition.
The Third Front: The likes of J Jayalalithaa, Mamata Banerjee, Mayawati, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar will have to take a backseat again and their aspirations to become the next prime minister may take another beating.
The economy: The Indian economy is in shambles and inflation is high. The new government will have to invest huge effort to extricate the country out of the economic mess and that will be no easy task. It may take some time for things to get better.
The most important thing will be to control spiralling inflation and bring the prices of essential commodities under control for it is, after all, the middle class and the poor that form the backbone of the electorate that brings these political parties to power.