Sunday, April 5, 2009

"Poll"iT(r)icks : Election mania

Well, these general elections are a first of sorts for me since it is the first time that I am eligible to vote. Though I would have loved to vote in Mumbai, given the fact that I spend most of my time here, that doesn’t seem to be possible since my permanent address is in Delhi. My constituency is Delhi south; too bad I can’t go to Delhi and exercise my franchise since my exams are ending at 4p.m. right on the polling day in Delhi, 7th May.

Another first for these elections are that there won’t be any exit polls this time around. Exit polls were banned by the government in October, 2008 as they were found to demoralize parties and influence voters voting in the next phase of the elections. In fact, exit polls were notoriously inaccurate; they predicted an NDA victory in the 2004 elections. It seemed that people were deliberately giving a wrong answer after they exited the poll booth because exit polls always seemed to predict an opposite result to the actual result.

Well, that doesn’t prevent me from picking a winner though. I know that it’s an extremely dangerous business given the fact that politicians change sides at the drop of a hat, but I’m going to hazard a guess anyway.

My predictions for the polls are as follows:

State Seats UPA NDA 3rd front
1 UP 80 27 12 41
2 Maharashtra 48 26 22 0
3 Andhra Pradesh 42 24 0 17
4 West Bengal 42 12 0 28
5 Bihar 40 20 21 0
6 Tamil Nadu 39 17 0 22
7 Madhya Pradesh 29 11 18 0
8 Karnataka 28 7 14 6
9 Gujarat 26 8 18 0
10 Rajasthan 25 13 11 0
11 Kerela 20 10 0 10
12 Orissa 21 3 5 14
13 Jharkhand 14 6 8 0
14 Assam 14 9 5 0
15 Punjab 13 5 8 0
16 Chattisgarh 11 5 6 0
17 Haryana 10 4 6 0
18 Delhi 7 5 2 0
19 Others 34 13 10 5
TOTAL 543 225 166 143

So according to my calculations it will be a hung house with the UPA unable to clinch a simple majority capturing just 225 out of the 543 seats. This means that they will have to beg the 3rd front to support them or lose power. So there can be 3 possibilities:

1. UPA gets 3rd front support and form the govt.
2. Congress supports 3rd front from outside and the 3rd front forms the government.
3. BJP supports 3rd front from outside and the 3rd front forms the government.

The stage seems to be set for the 3rd front with its motley mix of parties to form the next government with support from either the BJP or the Congress. History says that this will be disastrous for the country as no 3rd front govt. has survived for more than 2 years. Our last experience with the 3rd front was with the Deve Gowda led United Front in1996 which lasted just 1.5 years.

So be prepared for a hung house and pray that the left agrees to support the UPA. And also be prepared for Mayawati becoming the Prime Minister if the 3rd front comes to power. I know that its not a comforting thought but thats the way politics in India is. That’s what happens when the people who really count, don’t vote. Consider our own Mumbai for instance. 50% of the registered voters are slumdwellers and atleast 80% of them are going to vote . With the city having an average turnout of 50% in 2004, it seems that only 10% of the rest, the educated people, have voted.
And this is the situation in the financial capital of India, imagine the rest of the country then. Is there any surprise then that we get the kind of leaders we have? Education is the only solution to all our problems. Once people start getting educated, they will be able to elect sincere, accountable and efficient leaders.