Monday, March 23, 2009

Opinion poll gives Congress edge, BJP slipping in Election 2009!

Just now another Opinion Poll has given the Congress an edge and predicted a victory for UPA in the Lok Sabha elections 2009.

The Star News-AC Nielson poll predicts 257 seats for the UPA and 184 for the NDA with Third Front getting nearly 96 seats and six to the others in the 545 [543=2 nominated MPs] member house.

Can it be true?

Strangely, there seems no difference in the results of General election 2004 and 2009 if we believe this poll that gives Congress 144 seats and BJP 137. The number of seats in the last election was Congress 145 and 138 for BJP.

So the poll suggests that there will be no change, just one seat less for both the major parties! So none of them performing good or bad compared to each other. I find it unusual. There are surprises like DMK again getting a high number of seats. Left is not with Congress.

Besides, there could be anti-incumbency at work and the poll itself doesn't show any sudden rise in number of seats for Congress. So it is just a question of right or wrong allies? Else, how can UPA be declared on its way towards victory and BJP getting defeated!

In the past also, it was Tamil Nadu that had embarrassed the Indian psephologists when they were completely flummoxed by the voter. Conventional wisdom says that Jayalalitha should gain but the opinion poll gives 24 seats to Karunanidhi's DMK and just 9 to AIADMK, while six go to the rest.

And where is the UPA? With RJD and LJP contesting the election together and not leaving any seat for Congress and SP having no truck with Congress, will the situation be same. Had the poll taken care of the recent changes?

It seems the seats of not just Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti and Lalu Yadav's RJD, but also Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party have been included to take the UPA tally up to 257, on the basis of the assumption that these three parties will not join NDA at any cost.

The AC-Nielson Star News poll results for 2009 elections:

United Progressive Alliance [UPA] 257
National Democratic Allianec [NDA] 184
Third Front 96
Rest 6

Now see the position of the parties:

Congress 144
BJP 137
Left Front 34
Others: SP 30, BSP 21, DMK 24, JDU 16, NCP 13, TMC 13, TDP 14, Shiv Sena 12, RJD 11, AIADMK 9, LJP 6, JD (S) 4, AGP 6, RLD 6, TRS 3, NC 2, PDP 1, MUL 3, INLD 1, JMM 1 etc.

In West Bengal, the Communists are heading for a bad show and Mamata Bannerjee's TMC along with Congress will together bag 20 seats while in Bihar, RJD will be reduced to 11 despite the coalition, says the poll. LJP may get 6 while Nitish Kumar gets 15.

In Maharashtra it's evenly split. Congress 12, NCP 13, Shiv Sena 12 and BJP 10. The bulk of seats for BJP will come from MP (25), Rajasthan (14), Karnataka (16) and Gujarat (16).

It's not easy to fathom the mind of Indian voter and howsoever large the sample size may be, it's difficult to make any predictions in a country as huge as India where often it is three or four-cornered fight.

Why poll appears in Congress' favour?

What seems going in Congress favour is that, unlike Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had a 24party coalition, the current BJP has barely 6 partners. TDP, a major party has vowed not to go with BJP.

However, Congress doesn't have Left parties with it, though SP compensates it to an extent. The Congress will have to deal with growing aspirations of allies as regional satraps would want their pound of flesh agressively.

It is in such situations that BSP will play a crucial role. Left may not be as big a player as it was but it will certainly play a role in post-election scenario. A change in Tamil Nadu or an upset in any other state, can change the situation drastically.

In fact, the polls don't give much importance to the third parties or the prospects of a hugn parliament. That's the reason the predictions appear more in favour the Congress.

The Previous Poll

Earlier, the CNN-IBN and CSDS pre-election survey had also given similar results but it didn't give exact figure. It had given UP 215-235 seats, NDA 165-185 and the Third Front 90-100.

The third front seems set to get 100 seats again and that's no small number. Let's wait just a few days to see how close AC Nielson-Star TV poll is to the real composition of Indian parliament.