Does the BJP have what it takes to steal a victory?

So, what’s the latest thinking on the Indian elections:

1. Voter turnout has been poor in Mumbai, pundits say this is down to two things: (a) generally, middle class and urban populations don’t vote and (b) abstaining due to the Mumbai terrorist attack of last year.

2. Lower caste commuity in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati’s back-yard – where she was expected to clean up, it seems are not as enthusiastic as she is about broadbasing the Bahujan Samaj Party by providing upper caste people berths in the party. As a result, voter turnout has been low in some parts of UP.

3. Given Mayawati’s slowdown, people are talking up the possibility of the BJP picking up seats whereas this seemed improbable previously.

4. There’s been a continuous campaign to create a split in the NDA with suggestions that partners like Nitish Kumar in Bihar are going to gravitate towards the third front. In all honesty, he hasn’t made it easy for himself either by being vague in a key TV interview.

5. It seems likely that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. Whether this guarantees them the numbers required to form a government is opaque at the moment. It all comes down to the level of horsetrading they want to get down to.