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Solitude of holier-than-thou Aam Aadmi Party
Saturday December 14, 2013 4:58 PM, Amulya Ganguli, IANS

The triumph of the Aam Admi party in the Delhi assembly election has not only surprised the Congress and the BJP but has also set the trajectory of the of 2014 polls.

There are few things clearly emerging out from this trend. One is the increasing number of regional parties emerging in India. Secondly Congress and BJP can no more bask on glory that they alone can govern India, because 'There Is No Alternative' (TINA). This myth is fast getting eroded. Lastly, whether the regional satrap will chug India or one or other national party may scrap through in coalition formation after the 2014 polls.

With the general election barely a few months away India's political trajectory is somewhat still remains hazy. Right now in there are two undercurrent prevailing in the country.

First anti incumbency factor is haunting the Congress party. Congress is now in power since 2004 and people are feeling fatigued with its rule. It is obvious that the anti Congress sentiments is going to be cashed by the BJP but will it be able to replace it is something questionable.

The second undercurrent theme is will the third force of regional parties replace the Congress and the BJP in the 2014 general election. There is a thinking developing in the country that regional parties can call the shots forming a rainbow coalition at the center as a new government. The two trend needs some brain storming.

The prospects of the BJP in the 2014 general election looks bright. With the victory in Rajasthan, Chatisgarh and Madhya Prdesh assembly elections, BJP is in a buoyed mood. The hype is being built that BJP will sweep the polls under the leadership of its Prime Ministerial candidate Narender Modi.

Notwithstanding, the fact remains that if there is any anti Congress sentiments brewing in the country, there is no indication of any pro BJP wave prevailing in the country.

If BJP has to come to power it only has two routes to follow. One to polarize the country on Hindus vs Muslims issue, and seek the majority vote. Second is to cobble a coalition of regional satraps. In the current situation both these hypothesis seems unpalatable.

The people of this country will not endorse the idea to polarize the country on communal lines and getting a bag full coalition partner is not an easy task.

Apart from the traditional BJP allies like Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, there is little probability of anyone other political party joining its bandwagon before the elections. AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, Biju Janata Dal in Orissa, Trinamool in West Bengal, will keep their cards close to their chest and will open it only after the final results are announced. So BJP cannot take coalition partner for granted.

The fundamental question is can BJP win 271 seats on its own. The poll pundits predict 100-150 seats for the BJP as a realistic figure. It will be more than 100 plus seats needed to form government. The regional political parties first choice would be a rainbow coalition of the satraps then the BJP.

With Narander Modi being the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate its hard to get secular parties on board. If Arun Jaitly or Sushma Swaraj were made BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, some regional parties may have consider alliance for the sake of avoiding another election. But with Narender Modi having at the helm, regional parties with secular credentials may think over to yoke with the someone having rough edges in his personality. The common sense says, Modi can be a liability for stitching up a regional coalition for the BJP to form next government.

It is seen since the beginning of this millennium, the vote percentage of both the Congress and the BJP has drastically gone down. If the last two general elections are any indicator then its regional parties that has gained over the national parties in these two hustings.

The idea of regional parties leading the country is nothing new. It has been afloat since the breakup of United Front government (1996-1998). This is to provide an alternative to the two national political formations and an attempt by the regional satraps to assert on the national scene.

There is nothing wrong behind the idea of having the regional parties taking over the national governance. It is in fact an attempt to make the national politics multi-polar and check drift into straight-jacketed two parties alliance political system.

So far, the regional parties have been playing a second fiddle role tucking with the national parties. However, this trend is fast changing. The growing rise of regional parties is seen as an attempt to harmonize the national political aspirations.

The idea of regional satraps taking the reigns of the country is conceptually sound, but with so much of pulls and pressure surrounding it, this idea operationally seems nonviable. So far all its moves have misfired. In 2009 general election this idea was mooted but its own architects betrayed it. With much differences prevailing, the question remains will such alliance remain intact for long?

Indian democracy seems to have a long way to go to harmonize the regional and national aspirations. The experiment though noble would take time to ultimately fructify. At the moment it looks a non starter because India's regional politics still remain immature.

It's all for sure that the fate of next government is going to be decided after 2014 general election and not before it. However, it will be too early to write off Congress from the 2014 general election. India's oldest political party is still a force to reckon with at the national scene.

In case if the moral dilemma arises to choose a secular party over communal, the choice of many regional parties will obviously be the Congress. With Narender Modi at the helm of BJP, the minority, Dalit and down trodden vote will go to the Congress. There wont be any surprises if Congress forms the government for the third time in a row.

The political trajectory for 2014 general election is that in the final tally, both the BJP and Congress will emerge with much more reduced strength. The growing trend is for the preference of regional parties over the national parties. It is obvious thy will call the shots and may like to replace both the Congress and the BJP. However, sounding death knell of the national parties will be too premature now. There is no doubt of the growing assertion of regional parties on the national scene but it is unlikely that such coalition can form the government.

The BJP has advantage over the Congress, but to write off Congress totally from the race would be naive. The chances of hug election cannot be ruled.
Actually what will happen in the 2014 general elections will only be known after the final tally is announced and this is for sure.

Author is a journalist based in Chennai, can be contacted

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