That adds up to 54 seats from the Bay of Bengal territories

I’m pessimistic about Congress

One can only hope that India is spared another 1996 1998 experiment where the prime minister’s party has fewer than one tenth of the seats in the Lok Sabha, says T V R Shenoy.

canada goose clearance Arithmetic ruled from 2009 up. Chemistry must prevail well into 2014. Or so political parties believe. But are they correct? canada goose clearance

Politics was a numbers game in a deeply divided polity, with almost every policy decision being decided by votes that went down to the wire in the Lok Sabha. But with the next general election looming ahead every party the Congress and the BJP above all will focus on creating, or joining, a coalition with a realistic chance of forming a ministry.

This means that for the next half a decade or more there is no chance of a single party government running on a coherent agenda.

Why am I so pessimistic about either the Congress or the BJP coming into power?

buy canada goose jacket V P Singh became prime minister in 1989 canada goose outlet toronto factory after his Janata Dal won 143 seats. buy canada goose jacket

P V Narasimha Rao canada goose outlet edmonton became prime minister in 1991 after the Congress won 232 canada goose outlet locations in toronto seats.

canadian goose jacket Atal Bihari Vajpayee became prime minister in a 13 day government after the BJP won 161 seats in the 1996 general election. He was succeeded by H D Deve Gowda, whose Janata Dal had won just 46 seats. canadian goose jacket

Atal Bihari Vajpayee became prime minister once again in 1998 after the BJP won 182 seats.

canada goose uk shop Atal Bihari Vajpayee returned to power in the 1999 general election after the BJP, again, won 182 seats. canada goose uk shop

Dr Manmohan Singh became prime minister in 2004 after the Congress won 145 seats.

Dr Manmohan Singh got a second term in office in 2009 after the Congress canada goose outlet won 206 seats.

Run through that list and you will see that no party has come anywhere close to 272, the barest possible majority in a Lok Sabha that has a strength of 543.

Canada Goose Outlet The best canada goose outlet online uk result was that by the Congress in 1991, but that owed everything to the killing of Rajiv Gandhi halfway through the election. Canada Goose Outlet

The worst outcome was the horrible aberration of 1996, when a party that had fewer than one tenth of the seats in the House put up a prime minister.

Very briefly, the last time that India gave a majority to a single party was in 1984. (And that was thanks to the gigantic sympathy wave after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.) By 2014 it will be 30 years since the era of coalitions started.

canada goose factory sale Let us assume, for argument’s sake, that the wretchedness of 1996 is not repeated, and that two (more or less) stable fronts are formed, with either the Congress or the BJP at the centre of each. canada goose factory sale

cheap canada goose uk The canada goose outlet new york major problem for both those parties that they are going to start by virtually writing off 145 seats. cheap canada goose uk

Let us call this the ‘Bay of Bengal Problem’. There are four states and a single Union territory that touch that canada goose outlet near me body of water. These are West Bengal (42 Lok Sabha seats), Odisha (21 seats), Andhra Pradesh (42 seats), Tamil Nadu (39 seats), and Puducherry (one seat).

Together, these five elect 145 Lok Sabha MPs. How many of those seats can the Congress and the BJP, realistically, hope to win?

In the 2009 general election the BJP failed to win a single seat out of these 145 constituencies. There is some (very wishful) talk of alliances with the AIADMK, the Biju Janata Dal, and the Telugu Desam. But which of those three regional parties will enter a pre poll coalition?

The chief minister of Tamil Nadu is the one most closely identified with the BJP, but J Jayalalithaa has publicly exhorted her party to win 40 seats (all those in Tamil Nadu and the one in Puducherry), to gain greater leverage.

The Congress’s story is more mixed. In 2009 the party won 33 seats from Andhra Pradesh, 8 seats in Tamil Nadu, 6 seats in Orissa, and 6 more in West Bengal. And, in alliance with the DMK, it won Puducherry’s single seat. That adds up to 54 seats from the Bay of Bengal territories.

That was not the whole story. In 2009 the second largest party in the United Progressive Alliance was the Trinamool Congress (19 seats), and the DMK was the third largest (18 seats). Thus the United Progressive Alliance effectively won 91 of the 145 Bay of Bengal seats.

But the situation has deteriorated markedly in the three and a half years since then. The Congress and the Trinamool Congress have parted ways in West Bengal. In Andhra Pradesh the Congress has been torn apart by the Telangana agitation and the simultaneous revolt by Jaganmohan Reddy.

buy canada goose jacket cheap The Congress and DMK have sunk each other in Tamil Nadu, as demonstrated in the 2011 assembly election and the 2012 local body polls. buy canada goose jacket cheap

canada goose Finally, there is nothing to demonstrate official canada goose outlet that the Congress has recovered ground in Odisha, where Naveen Patnaik is now in his third straight term as chief minister. canada goose

Under these circumstances galloping canada goose uk inflation, an unending stream of corruption charges, and national security failures making the canada goose outlet hong kong news can the Congress hold even half of the 54 seats that it won in 2009.

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