2019: Where Predictors can go wrong ?

by R.Mohan

(25-09-17) : There are many, who state that the results of 2019 elections are a foregone conclusion, implying the certainty of return of the incumbent.

The fundamental premise of the predictors is that a very strong incumbent leader who has no equally popular rivals, is certain to come back to power.

One question that needs answer here is “Does history validate this premise?” Let us see a few examples.

1 In UK, Winston Churchill was voted out of power in 1945, immediately after leading the Allies to victory in Second World War.

2. Closer home in India, Janata Party did not have a Prime Ministerial candidate in 1977 Lok Sabha elections, in which it was voted to power defeating Congress Party, led by the charismatic Indira Gandhi.

3   In 2004, predictors were certain that the NDA under the brilliant leader, Atal Behari Vajpayee, would return to power riding the "India Shining" slogan.  A coalition of diverse political groups came to power ousting Vajpayee led NDA.

This is not to say that the incumbent would meet the same fate in 2019. But the fact to be recognised is that winning a second time is not wholly and exclusively based on charisma and magnetic power of personality. What works once is harder to repeat itself the second time.

One aspect that goes unnoticed in simplistic analysis is that Indian elections since 1990s have become aggregation of State level balance of powers. Even 2014, did not obliterate this trend, as can be seen from the results of Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Social engineering and re engineering also have become major factors. At present, corruption, communal issues etc. have surged ahead, but the present incumbent has realised that coalition building is very essential for a majority in 2019. Opposition too should aim at a broad spectrum alliance with credible regional arrangements, which would reflect peoples aspirations and effectively counter hegemonistic tendencies.