Monday, May 11, 2009

2009 Indian Parliamentary Elections Predictions

Right, so the elections are coming to a close and we find out on May 16th what the results are. I've decided (in a significant bout of folly) to predict the unpredictable and to call the Indian election results before they're announced. I've read the tea leaves, consulted the stars, ruffled through wikipedia and a few websites of Indian news organizations, and have come up with my very own set of predictions. 543 seats being contested, in 28 States and 7 Territories, with over 30 political parties, all kinds of crazy characters, and very high stakes. This is a little long, so I'll post the predictions up top and discuss the thinking behind this and state-by-state analysis further down. Feel free to pull this list out on the 16th and ridicule me for getting it completely wrong!

UPA - 257
NDA - 156
3rd Front - 108
Other - 22

1. Congress - 179 (UPA)
2. BJP - 128 (NDA)
3. Commies - 36 (3rd Front)
4. Mulayam - 27 (UPA)
5. Mayawati - 26 (3rd Front)
6. Lalu - 19 (UPA)
7. Chandrababu Naidu - 15 (3rd Front)
8. Nitish Kumar - 13 (NDA)
9. Karunanidhi - 13 (UPA)
10. Jayalalitha - 11 (3rd Front)
11. Naveen Patnaik - 11 (3rd Front)
12. Sharad Pawar - 9 (UPA)
13. Shiv Sena - 8 (NDA)
14. Chiranjeevi - 6 (Other)
15. Raj Thackeray - 6 (Other)
16. Akalis - 5 (NDA)
17. Ram Vilas Paswan - 4 (UPA)
18. Omar Abdullah - 4 (Other)
19. Telengana - 3 (3rd Front)
20. Ramdoss - 3 (3rd Front)
21. Vaiko - 3 (3rd Front)
22. Mamta Banerjee - 2 (UPA)
23. Shibu Soren - 2 (UPA)
24. Ajit Singh - 2 (NDA)
25. Independents - 2 (UPA)
26. Independents - 6 (Other)

Phew! You'll notice I've used the names of politicians to denote the parties they lead. This is largely because too many acronyms will get too confusing, and also because most of these parties are glorified personality cults of their leaders anyway. The tallies above are based on a state-by-state analysis, which made sense because the national election is really a collection of separate regional elections. I'm including my state-by-state analysis below as well.

Well, the high level analysis is that we will see a return of the UPA government at the center. There are a few assumptions I'm basing this on. The first is that Mulayam will support the UPA. If he doesn't, then the equations will change all over again, but I have a feeling he'll stick with it. The second is that while the BJP will not be hurt very much, it's allies will virtually disappear. Third is that the Congress will improve its tally, continuing the BJP's stint in the wilderness of opposition. Fourth is that the Mayawati phenomenon will not materialize as expected. She will gain a few seats, but it won't be a dramatic gain, and her appeal will not translate outside UP. And fifth, the Communists will lose ground in Kerala and Bengal, but the 3rd Front will cross a hundred seats because of the gains of newly minted allies like Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Naveen Patnaik and Chandrababu Naidu.

One other major consideration is the confidence vote which took place in the Lok Sabha last year. The vote was very close, and so it will be again if the 3rd Front and NDA gang up again to avoid a UPA government. I doubt that will happen, because I think the UPA will be able to entice some of the Other parties (like Omar Abdullah's) as well as some constituent members of the 3rd Front and NDA to create the government.

The last point on a general national level is that of the issues. The major issues affecting India today, the threat of terrorism and the global economic crisis were rarely discussed on the campaign trail. The US-India Nuclear Deal and the subsequent confidence motion that the government barely survived in parliament are also not discussed nearly as much as they should be. Instead, this campaign was dominated by complaints of personal slights, random inflammation of religious hatred and its twin, over-reaction by the state apparatus, the ridiculous sight of pampered film stars in designer clothes urging dhoti and sari clad voters to blindly follow their recommendations and the prospect (as a very close friend put it to me) of "an 81 year old and a 76 year old vying to lead a country where the median age is 25." The media, as expected, has been weak, shameful, shrill, excessive and unwilling and unable to mediate a grand national debate. More money has been spent on this election then ever before, and I'm not sure if the issues could have been more ill-served than they were. One thing is for sure: nobody, not the politicians, not the parties, not the media, nor (heck, I'll say it) the electorate have lived up to the grandness of the occasion.

Below is my state-by-state analysis. It's in order of size of state, with a little blurb of explanation where I felt it was required. I'll stand by the predictions in the first 12 states on this list (ie. every state with 20 seats or more). These top 12 states account for 440 of the 543 total seats being contested. After that, what was an exercise that was mostly guess work became an exercise in complete guess work, so keep that in mind. Righto!

1. UTTAR PRADESH (80 Seats)
Mulayam - 26
Mayawati - 24
Congress - 14
BJP - 12
Ajit Singh - 2
Independent - 2

So here I'm predicting gains for Mayawati and Congress, and losses for Mulayam. I think that makes basic sense, so Mulayam goes from currently holding 35 seats to 26 seats, and Mayawati goes from 19 to 24. Mulayam still comes out on top, and with an alliance with Congress can fend off Mayawati and the BJP.

2. MAHARASHTRA (48 Seats)
BJP - 11
Congress - 10
Sharad Pawar - 9
Shiv Sena - 8
Raj Thackeray - 6
Mayawati - 2
Mulayam - 1
Independent - 1

This was quite possibly the hardest one to pick. So I'll start with the Independent. I'd like Meera Sanyal to win, so I've put her down as the winner in Bombay South (with the expectation that she will support the UPA). Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar have all basically been evenly footed the last several years in the state, but with the split within the Thackeray family, and the heavy investment Mayawati is making in the state, it's all completely up in the air. My notes for Maharashtra have the most number of crossed out tallies than any other state.

3. ANDHRA PRADESH (42 Seats)
Congress - 16
Chandrababu Naidu - 15
Chiranjeevi - 6
Telengana - 3
Commies - 2

Another very difficult state to call. They're concurrently holding elections for the state legislative assembly, so that means that this vote is a referendum on the YSR led Congress government. Usually AP swings in a big way one way or the other. This time however, with the addition of Chiranjeevi in the fray I think Naidu won't be able to capitalize entirely on the expected swing, leaving Congress at the top, but not by much. Expect a hung assembly as well, where Chiranjeevi will play a much bigger spoiler role.

4. WEST BENGAL (42 Seats)
Commies - 20
Congress - 20
Mamta- 2

Major loss of face for the Communists is predicted here. They've pissed off secularists and internationalists by allying with the NDA to try to topple the government over the nuclear deal, and they've pissed off local leftist agitator types by supporting industry in Singur and Nandigram.

5. BIHAR (40 Seats)
Lalu - 19
Nitish Kumar - 13
BJP - 4
Ram Vilas Paswan - 4
Congress - 0

Gains for Nitish Kumar in the wake of the successful start to his Chief Ministership, but Lalu maintains enough seats to stay relevant.

6. TAMIL NADU (39 Seats)
Karunanidhi - 13
Jayalalitha - 11
Congress - 8
Vaiko - 3
Ramdoss - 2
Commies - 2

Jayalalitha makes some gains, but mostly at the expense of the Congress.

7. MADHYA PRADESH (29 Seats)
BJP - 26
Congress - 3

This traditional BJP bastion stays that way.

8. KARNATAKA (28 Seats)
BJP - 10
Congress - 18
Deve Gowda - 0

You may have noticed that Deve Gowda is missing from my total tally up top. That's because I have him and his party getting the sound thrashing they completely deserve. BJP will also lose seats, and Congress will make a remarkable come back in this state. You heard it here first folks!

9. GUJARAT (26 Seats)
BJP - 16
Congress - 10

The trend of the greater BJP-fication of Gujarat continues, much to my displeasure.

10. RAJASTHAN (25 Seats)
BJP - 16
Congress - 9

Congress won recent state assembly elections here, following a few years of caste based violence, and a poor governing record on the part of the BJP's Vasundhara Raje Scindia. BJP is still strong, but the Congress will pick up a few seats here.

11. ORISSA (21 Seats)
Naveen Patnaik - 11
Congress - 6
BJP - 4

Recent communal violence, as well as being ditched as an ally by Patnaik means that the BJP will lose ground here. Patnaik is an odd fish, because he just left the NDA, and has given temporary allegiance to the 3rd Front. If, as I predict, his position in the Lok Sabha doesn't change (he keeps the 11 seat tally he currently holds) then his party will also be a good candidate for the UPA to try and woo.

12. KERALA (20 Seats)
Congress - 11
Commies - 9

Another thumping setback for the Commies, and Shashi Tharoor will join the Indian Parliament as a Congress MP.

That's the last of the confident predictions (or as confident as they can possibly be). Below are the rest of the states and territories (the final 103 seats in the Lok Sabha).

13. ASSAM (14 seats)
Congress - 11
BJP - 2
Independent - 1

14. JHARKHAND (14 Seats)
Congress - 7
BJP - 4
Shibu Soren - 2
Commies - 1

15. PUNJAB (13 Seats)
Congress - 6
Akalis - 5
BJP - 2

16. CHHATTISGARH (11 Seats)
BJP - 9
Congress - 2

17. HARYANA (10 Seats)
Congress - 9
BJP - 1

18. JAMMU & KASHMIR (6 Seats)
Omar Abdullah - 4
Congress - 1
BJP - 1

19. UTTARKHAND (5 Seats)
BJP - 3
Congress - 2

Congress - 3
BJP - 1

BJP - 2

22. GOA (2 Seats)
BJP - 1
Congress - 1

23. MANIPUR (2 Seats)
BJP - 1
Congress - 1

24. MEGHALAYA (2 Seats)
Congress - 2

25. TRIPURA (2 Seats)
Commies - 2

26. MIZORAM (1 Seat)
Mizo National Front (counted as Independent) - 1

27. NAGALAND (1 Seat)
Naga People Front (counted as Independent) - 1

28. SIKKIM (1 Seat)
Sikkim Democratic Front (counted as Independent) - 1

29. DELHI (7 Seats)
Congress - 5
BJP - 2

Congress - 1

31. CHANDIGARH (1 Seat)
Congress - 1

Bharatiya Navshakti Party (counted as Independent supporting UPA) - 1

33. DAMAN AND DIU (1 Seat)
Congress - 1

34. LAKSHADWEEP (1 Seat)
Congress - 1

35. PONDICHERRY (1 Seat)
Ramdoss - 1

If you've made it this far, then hats off to you! I think the numbers speak for themselves. We'll find out soon enough. Cheerio!


Balaji Raghothaman said...

Holy moly... you actually had the patience to go state by state. I have a hard time keeping track of the personalities and their loyalties. Astrologers seem to say that Manmohan's chances are of retaining PM-ship are low..

Abhinav Varma said...

Vijay dude...i guess you did this prediction 3-4 months back and just posted it for fun. It is also visible that you are not up to date with the current events going on. You should analyze things before coming up with something as bizarre as

Ram said...

Way off. NDA should come out ahead, it is the nature of things, too many terror attacks, price will be paid. Lalu and others ditch Cong because they know something.

Sumanth Paidi said...

You should have been on TV with this analysis - you seem quite pro Congress.
I differ from you statements that the allies of BJP will disappear -i think it will be so for Congress allies (DMK, SP, RJD, LJP).
I think Bihar & TN will see a washout. While Congress will do well in Rajasthan.

Sumanth Paidi said...

The unofficial word is that the single largest party will breach on its own 180+ this times.

I think NDA + Allies will form the next govt.

'third front will come third' ...wonder happends to the 'fourth front':o)

juggi said...

man impressive v rao! without commenting on the numbers I agree with your big picture analysis..UPA back to power..but with support from several third front parties apart from regular allies

Aditi said...

I'm impressed - you actually did it complete state-by-state analysis! On the whole I have to agree (and I doubt you'll find me lining up to quibble if you're off by a bit).

Raja Sekaran said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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