Lok Sabha Election: This election is really hard to tell. However, possibility of a hung parliament cannot be ruled out after six phases of polling.
Lok Sabha Election 2019: It’s not just the politicians and leaders who have been anxiously waiting for clarity about who will form the next government at the centre but the entire country seems to be waiting for the answer of this question. Whether the voters will give one more chance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the opposition parties will eventually be able to topple him?
Senior Congress leaders like Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath and former union minister Kapil Sibal have already admitted that the Congress will not get majority on its own. In such a situation, there are only two scenarios: BJP with a reduced majority or a coalition of opposition parties replacing the NDA at the centre.
Several news reports and columns have explored the possibility of a disparate coalition replacing the BJP at the centre. However, if this possibility turns out to be true then another, and perhaps even bigger, question is who will lead this coalition. It will be a natural desire of the largest party or grouping to lead any such coalition. However, in politics, this is not always the case. A coalition may throw up surprising results.
In Karnataka, the largest party BJP that won 104 seats in a house of 223 is sitting in opposition as it fell short of just 7 assembly seats. Second largest party Congress that bagged 80 seats was not allowed to lead the government. A compromise formula between the Congress and JD(S), allowed JD(S) leader HD Kumarswamy to become the chief minister with just 37 seats.
There are two possible scenarios if the NDA is not able to form the next government. First, whether the Congress will lead the coalition like it did in 2004 when it won just 145 seats but the opposition parties, including CPM that won a record 59 seats, extended outside support to Manmohan Singh government?
Second, if the Congress is not able to lead the government then which party or leader will emerge as a consensus or compromise choice of such a coalition? And whether the Congress will extend the support to a non-Congress Prime Minister and join the government or will it extend the support from outside.
What are likely scenarios?
In the first scenario, no one is willing to put his neck out by projecting that the Congress can suddenly jump from 44 to 144 seats to repeat its 2004 performance that will allow it to stake the claim to lead the government. If the Congress tally is below one hundred then several opposition parties will likely throw their hats in the ring to stake the claim to Prime Minister’s post.
In such a situation, the Congress will have to swallow its pride of being the largest national party in the opposition camp. The party will have to concede the post of Prime Minister to some other regional party or grouping like SP-BSP-RLD combine without whose participation the government formation may not be possible.
Will there be a non-Congress PM with Congress support?
Two regional leaders: Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy and DMK chief MK Stalin have openly supported Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister. Rahul Gandhi was also backed by Rasthriya Lok Samata Party’s Upendra Kushwaha for the top job. However, three powerful regional leaders: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati, two former chief ministers of the country’s most populous state Uttar Pradesh have not backed Rahul Gandhi for the post of Prime Minister.
Akhilesh Yadav is backing Mayawati who is nursing the ambitions of becoming Prime Minister in case NDA falls short of majority. However, Mayawati will have to cross the Mamata hurdle as West Bengal chief minister may not back her for the top post. In such a scenario, the election result may throw up a completely unexpected person as the next Prime Minister of the country.