Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

PM candidates 2014

There are many who hope to become prime minister after Lok Sabha elections are over. Narendra Modi leads in opinion polls. Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal are competitors at national level. At regional level Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Mulayam Singh Yadav and Nitish Kumar hope to make it with the help of other parties.
AAP, BJP and Congress have not completed nominating candidates. BJP and Congress are in alliances. BJP had a chance to field candidates in all constituencies in Bihar and Tamil Nadu. Instead it went for alliances in those states. BJP members who hoped to fight elections in many constituencies were disappointed. In Maharashtra, Nitin Gadkari meeting Raj Thackeray offended Shiv Sena and BJP leaders had to pacify Uddhav Thackeray.
To be prime minister one needs 272 seats in Lok Sabha. Though Narendra Modi leads he is short of 272 mark. There is uncertainty about from where he will contest. Murli Manohar Joshi does not want to give up Varanasi. That has created a problem for Modi. Getting allies like LJP, DMDK, MDMK and PMK has boosted the morale of BJP. Ram Vilas Paswan who left NDA on the issue of Gujarat riots is back with NDA and shared stage with Modi. Modi has opposition from within BJP. Some of them hope BJP will not get enough seats and they will be acceptable as prime minister to more parties.
Congress does not seem to be in a winning position. Many MPs are reluctant to contest Lok Sabha elections. Manish Tewari, P. Chidambaram and G. K. Vasan are some of them. They want to go to Rajya Sabha as Kumari Selja did. One Congress politician Bhagirath Prasad joined BJP after getting Congress ticket. Many Congress members have conceded defeat even before filing nominations. Rahul Gandhi did well to begin primaries in some constituencies. If he holds primaries in all constituencies for Lok Sabha, Legislative Assembly and other local elections to decide candidates it will be great.
AAP has so far nominated 187 candidates. Its success depends on nominating 543 candidates. In some places, including Delhi and Nagpur, AAP members are upset that those who were with the party since the beginning are ignored and outsides are called and given tickets. There is no grassroots democracy. It is high command culture which Arvind Kejriwal had talked against. Ashutosh, Rajmohan Gandhi, Ashish Khetan, Gul Panag and many others are new entrants. Shazia Ilmi did not want to contest from Rae Bareli. Savita Bhatti was given ticket to contest from Chandigarh. She withdrew citing non-co-operation from local AAP members. Gul Panag jumped at the chance and grabbed it. Arvind Kejriwal made news for Gujarat and Bombay visits. In Bombay he travelled by autorickshaw and local train.
Jayalalitha has no appeal outside Tamil Nadu and has not fielded enough candidates. She has no realistic chance of becoming prime minister. She ditched Third Front also known as Alternative Front.
Mamata Banerjee’s dream suffered a setback when the rally at Ram Leela Maidan had poor response and Anna Hazare did not turn up. She may field candidates all over North India but not many are likely to win.
Crime has gone up in UP since SP formed government with Akhilesh Yadav as chief minister in UP on the Ides of March 2012. Muzaffarnagar riots have disillusioned many Muslims. Mulayam Singh Yadav’s chance is bleak. Raju Srivastava who got Kanpur ticket withdrew after some days claiming threat to his supporters from other SP members.
Mayawati’s chance rests on BSP getting 40+ seats and in a hung House getting support of UPA or NDA and some other parties.
Nitish Kumar is unlikely to win enough seats to head a coalition government. Some JD(U) members have left recently.

Updated: March 15, 2014 — 7:47 am

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