Super Tuesday in India too

In the US the Super Tuesday, 3 days from now, will not anoint the Republican challenger to President Obama, but only offer Mitt Romney the chance to cement his lead.  10 states are in the play and Romney virtually has a lock on 4 of them.  Georgia and Alaska are sure to go with Newt Gingrich, with Rick Santorum taking Tennessee for sure.  Oklahoma and Ohio are still ding dong, where Santorum and Romney are neck and neck.  North Dakota might well be where Ron Paul pulls something out.  That’s my assessment this fine Saturday on the US preliminaries.

Back home, it is also Super Tuesday - the day when the votes would be counted to determine who the people in 5 states have chosen to govern them over the next 5 years.  The states, in the order of geographical size are Goa, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Goa is going to be a real ding-dong.  It is going to be chaos for 2 or 3 days before we might even know who making a deal with whom, and whoever come out on top, will not be any different than the losers.

Manipur might well remain within the Congress fold, even though the Centre didn’t move an inch to break the blockade of Manipur.

Uttarakhand might again be a state where independent and small party legislators would hold the key.  Here too, I think the Congress will come to power, defeating the present BJP administration, either with a wafer thin majority on its own, else with smaller parties.

Punjab this time is sure to vote a Congress government back to power.  Again the majority might not be huge, but just adequate so that the new administration cannot throw its weight around and do what pleases it.  The pulls and pressures within the Punjab Congress party would keep a tight rein on the government, and in 2 years I foresee an internal rebellion there.

Which brings us to Uttar Pradesh.  No one is sure of what exactly is happening on the ground.  Even the punters aren’t taking bets on the next CM. 

In another 5 hours, after the polls close, we would see a raft of exit polls churning out the numbers and most I guess would gift around 150 seats to the Samajwadi Party of Mulyam Singh and a second place finish with around 100+ seats to BSP of Mayawati.  With around 30 odd independents expected to win, the remaining the 120 odd seats would be divided between the Congress and the BJP, with Congress ahead by 30 odd seats.

At least that is the conventional wisdom.  But I have my doubts.  This election has seen a very high polling percentage of around 60%+ and for UP, it is a high.  It is almost equal to the 80% or so polled in TN last year.  The money and muscle power has been emasculated by the Election Commission and there are practically no reports of booth capturing or election violence - which must be a first for the state.

And come Super Tuesday, we are going to see the effects of such clean elections - a real banger.

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