15 hours ago, I posted on my Facebook wall thus: Quote: “If elections were to be held soon, Mamata Banerjee stands out with best chance to be the next PM.” – Unquote.
Soon there were a barrage of comments and reactions: disbelief, challenges and trolls. I am no member of Trinamul Congress and not even a great admirer of the West Bengal CM. A few were skeptical on her supposed soft pedaling on illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and now Rohingyas and a few others over her ineptitude. Some worried over craftier Sharad Pawar and Mulayam Singh Yadav, who could stab from her back. One or other, even sarcastically suggested controversial names for her future cabinet.
Be that as it may, I was discussing a possibility, should there be a severe backlash over the performance of the NDA government, particularly in failing to create employment, curb scams and book scammers. The result of an overkill of India Shining from NDA’s previous tenure cannot be soon forgotten and can repeat again from disgruntled voters.
A hung parliament with no absolute majority to the ruling party may not be an inconceivable scenario as of now. A coalition of sorts between regional parties, backed by Congress could be a distinct possibility. Who could be the PM face in such a scenario?
a) Chandrababu Naidu, who, until yesterday was with NDA has 15 MPs. YSR Congress has 8 MPs and the clout of its rich leader Jaganmohan Reddy is speedily growing and will try to dethrone Chandrababu Naidu. BJP has now the advantage campaigning on its own and cutting into TDP votes, thus disturbing Naidu’s tally and hopes.
b) AIADMK has 37 of the 39 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu, which is likely to go for a churn in the next poll. TN has no PM face in AIADMK or DMK and can be straight ruled out.
c) Navin Patanaik the Odisha CM has 20 of the total 21 LS seats, and is noted for his indecisiveness on national roles. He is not ambitious either. BJP has been growing in the coastal belt and can further reduce his tally and chances.
d) UP is important with 80 seats of which BJP had a massive 71 seats. The present alliance of SP, BSP combine would make the fight fiercer and cannot be the same cake walk for BJP. Mulayam is old and has lost out the battle to his son. A PM’s job is strenuous, though as a former wrestler, he too can claim to give a killer hug to his adversaries, but he may be happy if chosen as the next president rather than the PM.
e) Nitish of Bihar could have been a face, but BJP had earlier won 22 of the 40 LS seats. People in Bihar are angry with Nitish’s reneging his erstwhile partner RJD and chosen the very same party he had opposed tooth and nail during the elections to win. Tejashwi’s clout is growing as is evident from the recent by poll results, which could diminish any chance of Nitish’s ambitions.
f) INC, I guess will continue to play second fiddle to many regional satraps, with their singular objective of removing Modi led BJP. I secretly feel forced naming of Rahul as a PM face will face internal revolt in the party. The spirit of ‘Young Turks’ of the yesteryears are lurking in the mind! To me, Rahul cannot be the PM face!
g) Left in the list is Mamata, the mercurial firebrand leader, who has 34 LS seats. BJP has 2 from Darjeeling and Asansol, and these could be the last ever seats BJP held, which they would lose.CPIM has 2 seats, which too, they will concede to TMC. INC has 4 of which they may retain 2. Of course, these are merely my predictions on the present status. Mamata has emerged as a serious contender to the hot chair by default. The list of national leaders visiting her is increasing every day!
Many would be happy if I am proved wrong, a few if I am right, but that is inconsequential as the post is more an analytical one.