Friday, January 24, 2014

wishful thinking and thoughtful wishes

Note: This is also "Part2 of the bigger picture". See the GE2014 tag for all posts related to Elections 2014

Results if the two Nationwide opinion polls are out, see high level comparison at  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BJP-poised-for-best-ever-tally-Narendra-Modi-set-to-be-PM-say-polls/articleshow/29322215.cms . I tend to believe more in the C-Voter poll at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/modi-led-nda-all-set-to-topple-upa-india-today-poll/1/339408.html , so about 212 for current. NDA So where do things go from here ? Here are my imaginations

1) The best case scenario for BJP is if it can improve state by state on the predicted numbers. Let us take the C-voter 212 number itself..  UP @ 30 .. BJP cud get 10 more .. Bihar at 22 , let us say 5 more .. , MP/Rajasthan/Chattisgarh/Jharkand has predicted 20 seats for non-BJP, lets say 5 more out of that .. another 5 more from Karnataka/Gujarat .. and 5 more from delhi/maharashtra etc .. that is 30 more, making it 242 ! So every seat counts for BJP ...

2) The second possibility is more pre-poll alliances... Vaiko/Ramadoss alliance in TN may not convert into too many seats... More important ones would be with AIADMK ( ~35 seats at stake), with TDP and TRS (~25 seats) with BJD (~15 seats), with TMC ( ~25 seats). Numbers in bracket is the possible seats that can be won by such alliance, including the BJP vote share. This is a total of 100 seats, even if two of this work out, NDA is through

3) For each of the above cases, if there is no pre-poll alliance with BJP, the numbers for the respective regional parties, my guess would be along the lines of 30 , 20, 10, 20 .. adding up to 80 .. A post-poll alliance with two of these could also help NDA cross the target.. It does look like the regional parties may not lose much by not tying up with BJP before elections - may be 5 seats at best.. and each of these regional parties, deep down will not want BJP to grow in their states...  BJP on the other hand, by making pre-poll alliances, may not gain too much either of its own numbers ... At best a 20 from all these states combined (the alliance partners seats continues to be theirs, be it pre-poll or post-poll alliance) .. Going by pre-poll alliance, BJP actually oses the chance of standing on its own and getting a feel for how much votes it can get, riding on the NaMo factor - and build on it for long term

4) Okay, so the NDA about 210 .. all these possible NDA future allies at about 90 , UPA at 100 ... those add up to 400 .. where is the rest 140 going ? Per C-Voter 30 for left, 25 for BSP, 20 for SP, 15 for YSR, 10 for AAP, 5 for DMK, another 5 pro-UPA parties .. thats about 110 , more likely to support UPA ..That makes it 210 for UPA... a possible switch over of TRS and TMC could make it about 250..   The rest 30 are independents plus really small parties - these could support either NDA or UPA, so UPA-3 cannot still be ruled out or even a 'third-front'

5) But my best bet at this point is that the NDA as it stands now will get about 220-230 by the election time, unless all these polls are under estimating the Namo factor and BJP really sweeps MP/Guajarat etc and get 50 in UP . And there is quite a likelihood that some potential allies may object to Modi. If it indeed happens, I think that is a golden chance for BJP - Namo can sacrifice his PM claim, and focus on building the party in all those states (like TN, like Orissa, like WB, Kerala) where there will be a new found surge in BJP votes. Who should be the BJP PM candidate then...  could be Advani, Sushma, Chouhan.... somehow my choice is Parikkar - for now.. lets discuss this later

6) Finally, what the the possible X-factors from now on ? There is still 80-90 days and a lot can change.. AAP may continue to come up with new drama scripts, big controversies could happen,.. alliances may change.. etc etc.. There could be more 'attacks' on Modi - Congress' dirty games department is known to do that.. there could even be an attempt on his life.. these are things not fully in BJP's hand. At this point, they can only keep working.. trying to convert the 30 in UP to a 50.. the 13 in Karnataka to a 20 .. open its account in Kerala.. and so on

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

part1 of the bigger picture


Having watched the second part of the CNN-IBN CSDS opinion poll, a bunch of quick points

0) The poll predicted that UDF will retain more or less the same number of seats (16 or so out of 20) as in 2009 due to a positive Oommen Chandya factor. I personally disagree - even in 2009, opinion polls before the elections, if I remember has predicted 8 for the then ruling LDF and 12 for the UDF .. in the end it went 4 vs 16 .. the tide is usually quite against the ruling party.. and so I think it will be more like 12-8 or even 14-6 in favor of LDF

BJP ? Well, as always, 2 - 3 seats it stands a small chance, tough, but let us see. I would rather not count on it. Karnataka too, it is quite likely that by the poll, it may actually be a 16-20 for BJP, but for now let us count 8

The point is, I  do not fully believe in the opinion polls, yet it is an interesting one to analyze as time pass ! So..

1)  TN was predicted to have 16% vote for BJP .. quite obviously the NaMo factor. If .. IF .. it is actually true thats quite a thing... (part of it may be the effect of Namo rally in Trichy...) . Even more interesting to me is big gain in Orissa where NaMo hasn't yet even had a rally. But the unfortunate part is that this may fizzle out, when people see that there is no critical mass... It will be interesting to see how Namo addresses this in the days to come.. pre-poll alliances with BJD and AIADMK may actually help the alliance sweep these states, but NaMo may actually be thinking of long term growth for the party..  Can his popularity be converted into the long term growth ?

2) The Congress seems to be helped by the pan-India presence again.. In spite of such a terrible UPA-2, local factors may see it actually gain a few seats in some states.. though it is indeed losing heavily elsewhere. will it cross 100 ?

3) In the next 2-3 days, predictions for the rest of the states will be out as well.. it looks like current NDA may end up with 200 plus/minus 20 .. Once again, it may be hardly accurate, but I think the message for BJP will be to work harder. These days there is usually a series of opinion polls.. and they predict a trend. for example for 2013  delhi assembly poll, BJP was initially predicted at third, then second, and then first.. Indeed it did end up first, but did not get the majority that some polls predicted.  It might have been an attempt by some to make some pro-BJP folks feel that "oh looks like BJP will win without me voting..."  and there by causing some bit of complacency.  This time around , with Congress possibly going to ban opinion polls after the elections are declared, let us see how it goes

4) Finally, at least for now it appears that at the National level BJP volunteers need to stay clear of distractions like AAP and focus on its ground work.. It appears that there are non-volunteer BJP supporters to take care of folks like AAP.  If volunteers can indeed reach the 10 crore households it is targetting (which unlike what the media makes out is not at all "aping AAP", but has been the good old RSS type strategy - gruhasamparkaH ) , that will be a game changer ( even Modi's National Vision can go only thus far... door to door campaigning is key)




Thursday, January 09, 2014

Time to switch gears ?

Its a frequent question now - Will AAP stop the BJP (NDA) from coming to power at the center ?

Let me first place forth what my views are on AAP and then move on to the BJP part

a) In an earlier post, I had called AAP anarchists, and time has only confirmed my doubts - the proof is many, be it the fact that AAP volunteers are taking law in their own hands in Delhi, being "empowered by Kejriwal", or be it the kind of people joining them these days, or be it by reading through some of their "policies and plans"

b) However, to add to that, it is also increasingly becoming clear that there are bigger forces behind the whole game of propping them up - it may be one or more of Congress (including the drama of trying to suppress AAP), the CIA (well, they always love instability in other countries, and add to that the Modi visa issue), the ISI ( quite likely they are pumping in whatever it takes to build up the public opinion against Modi- media, money or otherwise) and China ( given that many of AAPs views are closer to communist and maoist, my feeling is this is biggest player)

Now, what should the BJP reaction be ?  Unfortunately there has been a bit of disappointment that has creeped in among the volunteers - suddenly seeing a predicted AAP rise. Here are my point by point suggestions

1) First and foremost, do not get into the mode of "BJP is not doing anything and so we are going to lose". This is the trap laid out by AAP folks with the help of the media - to try to create an impression that they are on a huge upswing. It is to tap into the general Indian mentality that "people are crowding around there, so there must be something there and let me also join in".. Remember the saying - "garbage must be wonderful, for a million flies cannot be wrong". This is the same trick that Yogendra Yadav applied by predicting 47 seats for AAP.

2)  Consider this - it was never an easy task for Narendra Modi or BJP to begin with.  The more we go back to the "nothing to lose" mode, the better. Lets start by saying, BJP got 138 seats in 2009.can it build up from there ? There is no pan-India presence, there are many more opposing forces than supporting ones.. and yet, there is a chance. Isn't that itself wonderful ? Up to a few months back, I did not imagine that BJP would retain Chattisgarh, did not think MP would give it 2/3rds in a "third time" and a 3/4th in Rajasthan... 

3) So now what about the "urban areas" threat to BJP .. Let me start off by saying that this crowd, except for the BJP loyalists, have always been the kind which would vote against BJP (meaning any other party) at the drop of a hat. In 2009, many of them would have found Manmohan singh "okay to vote for" because "he is after all an honest man". It is more or less the same crowd that is vouching for AAP now - the small catch is that some percentage of them may have voted for Modi if AAP were not there. So in other words, you aren't losing any old votes , but you perhaps may lose some extra votes that you may have received. In one of my previous posts, I have mentioned that BJP lost in 2004 and 2009, more because of the loyalists' lack of interest than these extra votes

4) How many major urban areas really matter for BJP ? Let us take metros as example. Kolkota and Chennai were anyway not in the wish list of BJP . Mumbai - all 6 seats were won by Congress/NCP last time. Delhi - all 7 loksabha seats were won by Congress in 2009.  So what exact damaging are we talking about ? Well, apparently the BJP was expecting to "sweep back" these seats and now that seems tough with AAP - so this whole "AAP eating into BJP" is built around assumptions ! 2nd tier cities are not much different

So then am I saying , there is no AAP threat to BJP at all, and so ignore it. No, to the contrary, instead of being in a denial more  I think it is time for the BJP as a party and its sympathizers to accept AAP as a threat, however small it is and work towards countering it, in a balanced and less emotional way. The reason though that I went into points 1,2,3 above is to however try to give it a bigger picture. It is easier to get lost in the woods and miss the forest. So give AAP what is due - do not underplay, do not overplay either. And how exactly ? Well, it isn't easy, there is no quick solution, just like there is no quick solution to a perennially anti-BJP media. But a few suggestions

i)  Popularize BJPs efforts - like the india272 website, the Campus Ambassador Programme etc etc..

ii) Know more about the policies .. and educate around as well.  Do not assume that "xyz" knew about certain misdeeds or dangerous policies of AAP and is still supporting it - its quite likely that "xyz" did not know it.. Ask "xyz" if heshe knew it.. if the answer is a No, explain it... If the answer is Yes, ask why do you still support

iii)  I have seen that personal or small group conversations have a big effect (it may not be immediately visible, but it will help eventually). This is particularly so if you are considered a logical and honest person in your circle.

iv) Have statistics ready at your hand.. and logical ways to question some propaganda statistics used by AAP/media - for example, "opinion poll suggests 44% in 8 cities will vote for AAP".. How does the same poll predict "58% people want Modi as PM".. did they interview fools who think voting for AAP will help Modi become PM ?!

v) Those who can volunteer for on the ground (house-to-house or small meetings) campaigning - nothing like it

That much is for the "common man".  The BJP leadership too, I hope are planning their own strategies.. The middle level leadership need to connect to the crowd better.. and give clear leadership and directions to the foot soldier. They are very well capable of doing that - they just need to believe in themselves. And finally, what about Modi itself. I am in double minds if he should resign his CM post and do full fledged campaign - a thought that occurred to me a few days back (and interestingly echoed by MNS' Raj Thackerey today)- I think Modi is the best judge.