Thought you may be interested in the Indian election survey we commissioned.
What it shows:
• So far, the electorate have been treated to a ‘policy-lite’ campaign, with no real debate on substantive issues. Caste and religion remain defining issues in this election.
• Anyone can still make it. It’s all down to the post poll alliances that are struck at the end.
• The Congress & BJP will have an equal share of seats, it’s their coalition allies that will make the essential difference.
• Previous groupings like the UPA (Congress Party + partners) & NDA (BJP + partners) have more or less been disbanded. They remain convenient terms to apply, but mean little in the real sense.
• Regional parties are flexing their muscles by choosing to join together, under banners such as the Third Front or Fourth Front, avoiding grand alliances offered by the Congress or BJP.
Detailed breakdown of projected wins under four main scenarios is here: http://indiabriefingcentre.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/090414-sc-team-cvoter-election-survey2.pdf
Musings from last week…
The Congress withdraw a senior Congress MP over his alleged involvement in the 1984 Sikh riots that occurred after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. At a press conference last week, a Sikh journalist threw a shoe at the Home Minister as a sign of protest, which snow-balled into the two MPs withdrawing their candidature and bringing media attention to the Congress Party’s record on communal politics, which was a huge relief for the BJP as this shifted media attention from Varun Gandhi’s “hate speech”, that was being played out in the media in preceding weeks.
Personal attacks from the Congress leadership have intensified. Manmohan Singh (uncharacteristically) and Rahul Gandhi have publically criticised Advani, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate. Excerpts from a press conference below:
“Mr Advani has strength in speech with weakness in action.” – Manmohan Singh on LK Advani
“I would not have been found weeping in the corner, when a mob of hoodlums was destroying the centuries’ old mosque.” – Manmohan Singh on LK Advani when the Babri structure was razed to the ground in 1992.
In obvious reference to the Kandahar plane hijack episode Manmohan Singh said, “The difference between the UPA government and the NDA government is that they released terrorists while we killed nine and captured one alive.”
Referring to Mr Advani’s remarks that he did not know about the release of terrorists and the flight to Kandahar carrying Jaswant Singh, Rahul Gandhi said: “If he is such a strong leader, how come then the home minister did not know something…there are two possibilities. Either he is not telling the truth or his senior leader, Prime Minister Vajpayee, did not trust him”.
Likewise, LK Advani demanded an apology from Sonia Gandhi for her statement that India was in greater danger from people inside than foreign terrorists, which he said was an implied attack on the BJP. Advani said he was shocked about her remarks that “we are in greater danger from people inside than from foreign terrorists entering India”.
He said though Gandhi did not name his party, it “substantially accuses us and the comments were clear”.
On the third front, he said: “The so-called Third and Fourth Fronts were irrelevant as they were opportunists, who had no platform on their own or a common platform. The CPI(M) was trying to cobble a Third Front only to fight its own growing irrelevance.”