Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Coalitions 2019

It is time for Lok Sabha elections.
NDA and UPA are major coalitions. BJP leads NDA. Congress leads UPA.
BJP has ADMK, Apna Dal, SAD, Shiv Sena and some other parties as allies. AGP had quit NDA two months back on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Now it has some understanding with BJP and back in NDA.
Congress has DMK, JD(S), NCP, RJD and some other parties as allies. M. K. Stalin wants Rahul Gandhi as PM.
BJD and TRS are not part of any coalition. KCR hopes to become PM with support of non-Congress and non-BJP parties.
It is AAP vs BJP vs Congress in Delhi. Congress did not want coalition with AAP. Arvind Kejriwal now says AAP will win all seven seats in Delhi and wants alliance with Congress in Haryana. Congress is unlikely to oblige.
In West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee declared candidates for all 42 constituencies. No coalition with Congress. Mamata has prime ministerial ambitions. According to her criteria, among non-NDA politicians only she and Naveen Patnaik are qualified to become PM. Her hope is to become PM with support of Congress and other parties.
BSP and SP are in alliance in UP. Mayawati says BSP will not have an alliance with Congress in any state.
Sharad Pawar said BJP might emerge single largest party but they will fall way short of majority. They will need other parties to form government. Modi will not be PM.
Time for MPs to switch parties. Kirti Azad quit BJP and joined Congress. His father Bhagwat Jha Azad was in Congress and was CM of Bihar.
Savitribai Phule quit BJP. She accused it of dividing society and ignoring the rights of Dalits and backwards. She joined Congress.
Shatrughan Sinha says he will contest from Patna Sahib. Not sure whether as Congress or RJD candidate. May also contest as independent.
Navjot Singh Sidhu upset at not being asked to speak at Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Amritsar. He does not want to campaign. If he is not good enough to speak, he is not good enough to campaign.
In 2014, 12 May was the last day of voting and 16 May was the day of counting. This time 19 May is the last day of voting and 23 May is the day of counting. Narendra Modi had taken oath as PM on 26 May 2014.
Election in seven phases from 11 April to 19 May is a long time. In most countries voting is on a single day and counting begins after voting is over. India used to have election in two phases. Mamata Banerjee is not happy that West Bengal has 7-phase election. Some say Election Commission decided on election dates as per Modi’s tour programme. Election should be on a single day.

One Election for India

War with Pakistan

War with Pakistan is possible. After Pulwama terrorist attack where 40 or more CRPF jawans died there was demand for action against Pakistan. On 26/2/2019 around 3.30 a.m. Indian Air Force planes entered Pakistan and bombed Jaish-e-Mohammed camp at Balakot. On 27/2/2019 Pakistan attacked India. In the fight that followed India downed one F-16. One Indian plane was damaged. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman ejected and landed on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and is a Prisoner of War.
India claimed Balakot raid was non-military and pre-emptive. Pakistan claimed its action was not retaliation but demonstration of what they are capable of.
There was one video in circulation which Pakistanis claimed was of Indian pilot caught by them. That was soon proved to be fake because one person spoke Kannada. It was of Surya Kiran crash in Bangalore.
There was #JaisheSagarika trending on Twitter attacking Sagarika Ghose. Anti-Modi journalists were targets of pro-Modi people.
Journalists wanted to interview Abhinandan’s father retired Air Marshal Simhakutty Varthaman. He refused. His colony’s gates were closed. Later he issued a message thanking friends and God and expressed hope that Abhinandan returns safe and sound.
There was trending of #Abhinandan, #BringBackAbhinandan, #GiveBackAbhinandan #AbhinandanMyHero and #WingCommanderAbhinandan.
Some tweeted #SayNoToWar. For some time there was #SayYesToWar.
Some countries expressed concern about India and Pakistan bombings and advised de-escalation and restraint. It is strange for USA, UK and France to advise de-escalation. These countries pick up wars with far off countries that have done them no harm. They destroyed Libya. They attacked Syria which survived because of Russian help. They supply arms to Saudi Arabia and UAE to devastate Yemen. USA wants to attack Venezuela to depose Nicolas Maduro.

BJP and allies

Narendra Modi called attempts by opposition parties to form grand alliance as grand adulteration. Now his party is on similar path.
BJP did not show self-respect by allying with Shiv Sena which has humiliated it many times. Uddhav Thackeray referred to Modi as thief. Many times Shiv Sena MPs sided with opposition. BJP had done well without Shiv Sena in 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections. May be Modi is not sure of victory in Lok Sabha elections after losses in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly elections. Those elections are not harbingers of things to come. In 2003 BJP had won in those states and lost Lok Sabha elections in 2004.
BJP’s alliance in Tamil Nadu shows it is ready to play junior partner to AIADMK and PMK. AIADMK is controlled by BJP. Its state government is work of BJP. Last time BJP had alliance with some parties but they did not do well. BJP won one seat. AIADMK under Jayalalitha won 37 seats. Now AIADMK does not have a leader like Jayalalitha. This time there is talk of Modi contesting from Tamil Nadu in addition to Varanasi. A candidate should not be allowed to contest from more than one constituency.
Last time TDP was an ally of BJP. Andhra Pradesh did not get special category status so TDP quit BJP-led NDA.
BJP does not have a strong ally in Jammu & Kashmir after it parted company with PDP.
Nitish Kumar is not a reliable ally. BJP conceded his demand for equal seats to contest in Bihar. It was Modi’s folly.
Modi’s dream of Congress-Free India shattered after Congress victory in Punjab, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. Congress deprived BJP of Karnataka by support to JD(S). Supreme Court cut short time of 15 days given to B. S. Yediyurappa by Governor and he had to quit. Subsequent attempts by BJP to topple H. D. Kumaraswamy government were unsuccessful.
Opposition parties have various permutations and combinations. BJD does not want any alliance. TRS does not want to be part of any alliance with Congress. SP and BSP have an alliance with UP. Congress does not want alliance with AAP. Congress and TMC alliance in West Bengal is doubtful.
The strong man is strongest when he fights alone. Modi could have decided to contest all 543 seats by BJP. Alliance is a zero sum game. If BJP gets less than 272 seats, it is open to threats by allies.

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