Column: Reading the tea leaves

Dec 09 2013, 05:51 IST
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SummaryIt is not clear whether BJP will be able to lift the economy or not

The Sensex went up on the 5th morning of December on the good news from the exit polls for the four state elections. That much was expected. Yet these are only exit polls. Even during the course of the polling day in Delhi, the exit polls changed their minds within each poll and across the polls.

The AAP supporters were the first out and surged ahead but the BJP was not behind. Indeed, the whole day, the BJP polling stayed above the other two parties. The Congress did not wake up till the afternoon and then harnessed its support. By the close of play, the Congress was running neck and neck with the AAP on vote share at around 30%, and with the BJP on 34% maintaining its lead throughout the day.

Vote shares do not readily translate into seat shares though that is what the exit polls show to attract attention. Here the verdict was clear in the two large states—Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan—where the Congress shot itself in the foot by internal bickering. The policy of the dynasty is never to let any local leader get too tall lest s/he threaten the yuvraj.

Jyotiraditya Scindia could have delivered in Madhya Pradesh had he been declared the chief ministerial candidate. But the High Command would not allow.

In Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot had to be checked lest he gets too big for his boots, and so CP Joshi was sent in.

Rahul Gandhi supervised the ticket choices. He repeated his performance in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar elections with 100% defeat for the Congress. Translate those two states into Lok Sabha seats and you have half the answer to the General Election.

Chhattisgarh may yet surprise us by the size of the margin between the two parties. Here there is a strange rumour of Naxals having suffered remorse for killing too many Congressmen. Hence they are supposed to have instructed locals to register and then vote. The message must have been obvious. Let us see how many seats the Congress wins in Bastar. But even so the BJP should hold Chhattisgarh.

Delhi has only seven Lok Sabha seats but its national significance will make it the headline. Here the Westminster system of first-past-the-post fails to predict where there are three cornered contests with all three parties rather close together in vote share. The exit polls jumped around in their seat predictions with the AAP and the Congress changing

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