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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 22, June 1, 2024

The Possible Electoral Outcome and its aftermath | P S Jayaramu

Saturday 1 June 2024, by P S Jayaramu


May 28, 2024

The mega elections to the 18th Lok Sabha will be concluded with the 7th phase of polling ending on the 1st of June. The country is treated to a flood of predictions about the possible outcome. The mainstream TV channels-English and regional language ones- euphemismistically described as the ‘ Godi Media’, ( they should have been described as the Modi media) are predicting a hattrick for the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government. However, it is worth noting that the Head of the Swaraj India Foundation and former psephologist Yogendra Yadav who has toured extensively across the country is predicting that the BJP will be below 250 and the NDA itself may not reach the majority mark. Scholar and activist Parakala Prabhakar, (husband of the finance minister Nirmala Sitaraman) says the BJP would be between 200-220. On the other hand, political strategist Prashan Kishor asserts that the BJP would cross its present strength of 303 and ride back to power, with the NDA support. We are told that major industrial Houses have got their own surveys done for their private consumption to reformulate their business and investment decisions under the new dispensation.

While 4th June will provide the ultimate answer to the national ‘guesstimates’, it is tempting to come up with my own thoughts on the possible scenarios after the announcement of results. Let me start with the first proposition, that of the BJP coming back to power. If the BJP returns with a comfortable majority of its own, the new Government will get emboldened to strength its ambitious pro- business decisions to take the country forward on its so-called ‘Viksit’ Bharat journey in an unhindered manner. On the other hand, if the Party falls short of a majority and will have to depend on its NDA allies, the Government would be on a slower wicket to implement its agenda. It is possible that some of the Parties in the NDA may not stay with the BJP. Assuming they stay with the BJP, they may not be very enthusiastic in supporting Modi regime’s preferred schemes. In such a situation, the BJP-led NDA government will be forced to go slow on its agenda. In any case, the situation would depend, to a considerable extent, on the numerical strength of the Congress and the INDI alliance. If their strength is going to be considerably high,they would block the passage of pro-business Bills in the Lok Sabha. In such circumstances, it would be a holding operation for the new dispensation, what with the deliberations of the Lok Sabha being disrupted in a routine manner. In such a scenario, the mainstream media too may not do the calling of the Government. Rather, it may feel emboldened to play its duty as the ‘watch dog’ of the Parliamentary form of Government in vogue.

Let me turn my attention to the second scenario, that of a Congress-led INDI alliance being voted to power. If that were to happen and with a good majority, the course of Indian politics is likely to undergo a paradigm shift. A Congress and Rahul Gandhi-led Government is likely to be left- of the centre in its ideological orientation, with the Samajwadi Party, the DMK etc in it. It is likely that a few of the NDA partners might either join such a regime or might decide to extend outside support to the government. In any case, such a government, going by Rahul Gandhi’s statements, would initiate policy measures to implement their poll promises like the Mahalakshmi Yojana, financial support to the unemployed youth along with the much talked about skill training to the youth to make them employable. In brief, the regime would be pro- youth, pro-women and pro-farmers with policy decisions taken to legally implement the minimum support price (MSP) for the farmers. It would also be pro-small and medium scale industries to the de-emphasis of heavy industries led by the large business Houses. However, considerations of pragmatism might lead the regime to slowly support the large-scale industries which can not be dispensed with by any government in the contemporary environment.

At a larger and more fundamental level, the INDI-alliance Government will lay stress on the primacy of the Constitution as the framework within which governance would be carried forward. All that would mean a strong adherence to the pluralistic character of our society to respect our linguistic and cultural diversities. More significantly, the regime would roll-back the Modi-led centre-dominated federal relations. It would be a committed to a strong states system with a premium on higher devolution of powers and tax-shares with the States by the Centre. In sum, it would mean the much-needed course correction in Indian Politics.

(Author: Dr. P. S. Jayaramu is former Professor of Political Science, Bangalore University)

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