Who Will be NDA’s Kingmaker in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections?

The choice is likely going to be between Jagan Mohan Reddy, K Chandrashekhar Rao and Naveen Patnaik for kingmaker.

Published08 May 2019, 03:06 AM IST
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3 min read

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

As we inch closer to results day, there are two questions that everyone wants answered: Who will be king, and who will play kingmaker?

And the three names that come up in addressing this question are: Jagan Mohan Reddy, K Chandrashekhar Rao and Naveen Patnaik.

BJP Might Fall Short of Majority

It is being said that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might fall short of the halfway mark and they might need the support of other parties to form government.

This is not my view, but what BJP’s National General Secretary Ram Madhav told news agency Bloomberg in an interview. Madhav’s statement comes at a time when several other BJP leaders have claimed that the saffron party will win 300-plus seats.

But as the polling comes to an end, experts are claiming that it will be difficult for a single party or a coalition to reach the magic number of 272.

The CSDS-CVoter survey conducted before the polls predicted that NDA could win 260 seats. But after five phases of elections, analysts have seen a reduction in the seat share.

It is being said that if NDA’s tally is below 240 seats then YSR Congress’ Jagan Mohan Reddy, Telangana Chief Minister and TRS leader K Chandrashekhar Rao, and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik could play an important role.

Will Jagan Mohan Reddy Ally With BJP?

YSR Congress President Jagan Mohan Reddy is fighting the elections on the plank of giving special status to Andhra Pradesh. His first fight in his state is against Chandrababu Naidu. The BJP is also fighting to build a presence in Andhra.

Though it can be argued that Reddy will owe an explanation to the people of Andhra if he allies with BJP, Reddy has an advantage as the Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh were conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections.

Thus with the promise of giving special status to Andhra Pradesh, Reddy can ally with the BJP.

Is an Alliance Between BJP and KCR Possible?

Telangana Chief Minister and TRS Chief K Chandrashekhar Rao has advocated for a third front and has projected himself as an anti-BJP and anti-Congress leader.

In a scenario where TRS allies with BJP the trouble would be TRS’ Dalit and Muslim vote bank.

But just like Reddy, KCR also has an advantage as the Assembly elections in Telangana and his party enjoys a ‘comfortable majority’ in the state.

KCR might ally with the BJP on the pretext of getting money from the Centre for the welfare of the state.

Naveen Patnaik

It is a little difficult to gauge the mood of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who has maintained his distance from the BJP calling it a communal party. But when it comes to opposing, he usually settles for the middle ground.

In Parliament, whenever it came to voting against the current government, his party has staged a walkout. For instance during the no-confidence motion in July 2018, the BJD staged a walkout.

There has been talks of giving special status to Odisha, on that note, a deal with the Centre is a possibility. In fact, after the recent damage caused by Cyclone Fani, PM Narendra Modi visited the state and complimented Patnaik.

The foundation for a friendship is ready. It is also possible that the deal is happening under the table, which means Patnaik might not be a part of the government but support it from the outside.

The UPA’s primary choices for an alliance are Samajwadi Party (SP), Bahujan Samaj Party (SP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC). But we will talk UPA and its allies some other time.

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