2019 election scenarios for BJP, Congress

2019 election scenarios for BJP, Congress
Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. (File)
NEW DELHI, MAR 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/11/2019 12:02:58 PM IST

The stage is set for 2019 Lok Sabha elections with Election Commission announcing the poll schedule. An aggressive Congress and possibilities of a mega opposition alliance have made the elections highly unpredictable even though Prime Minister Modi has got a massive image boost after air strikes on Pakistan and BJP hopes to get full majority riding on the still-intact popularity of its leader.

What are the prospects of BJP and Congress? There are chances of smaller parties playing a decisive role in the formation of the next government in the instances of two biggest parties falling short of seats. Based on a Times of India analysis, below are the possible scenarios for the two biggest parties. 

Scenario 1 for Congress- 150+ seats: This looks a far cry and will need Congress to get the better of BJP in big states like Rajasthan, MP, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Gujarat where two parties are face to face. This result will mean Rahul Gandhi could lead a non-NDA coalition.

Scenario 2- 110-130 seats: Congress will still be the largest non-BJP party by far and can still stake claim to leading a coalition government. This will be resisted by big regional players like TMC, RJD and BSP but other parties like Left, RJD, NC and DMK will support Rahul as PM.

Scenario 3- 75-100 seats: This is thin ice as far as the leadership stakes go. This number may well mean a decisive lead for BJP and that may put Congress out of play. Even otherwise, a pre- or post-poll grouping of regional parties may insist on their own candidate though consensus on this is not easy.

Scenario 1 for BJP- 250+ seats: Air strikes on terror camps in Pakistan to avenge Pulwama attack appear to have shifted the narrative from unemployment and farm distress and boosted Modi’s image as a strong leader. It could push BJP’s tally to within sniffing distance of a majority, and along with the support of allies, see him return for a second term.

Scenario 2- 220-230 seats: Ahead of 2014, there was talk of a “160 club” inside BJP and outside as well which believed that Modi’s perceived lack of acceptability will mean a compromise choice for PM. This has now been replaced by a “220 club” that similarly feels current and potential allies would seek Modi’s replacement.  But BJP may well insist on Modi becoming the PM or choose to sit in opposition.

Scenario 3- 140-160 seats: This will mean Congress and others having made significant gains. A low BJP number could set the stage for a Congress-led government. It will almost certainly mean BJP sits in the opposition. It will still command numbers likely to be more than Congress. 

A large block of regional parties and Congress will, however, favour proponents of an anti-BJP coalition.

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