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Multiple Scenarios

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The BJP will continue to make attempts at destabilising the coalition government in Karnataka. Similar stirrings are also becoming visible in Madhya Pradesh. The Congress cannot cry foul because it has been at it in Goa for a long time, as also in Gujarat. Considering the narrowing slice of votes that the two parties are competing for in the larger context of the Lok Sabha elections, the attempt to gain any advantage is only natural. A multiplicity of scenarios is being projected by analysts, mostly according to their individual inclinations, but the broad categories remain the same. The propagandists of the major political platforms are basing their arguments on issues they feel favour them, even if these need to be manufactured. Sadly, in the process, the quality of the debate is hitting new lows – Amit Shah having ‘suar ka bukhar’ is only the latest gem from a Congress leader.
The narrative is not simple for the regional outfits, either. The SP-BSP combine, for instance, is facing opposition from SP veteran Azam Khan, whose hold over the Muslim vote is considerable. He has used strong words against the BSP and, though it may be just jockeying for more party tickets for his followers, it could also be genuine displeasure, which could take him in the direction of the Congress. The already estranged Shivpal Yadav has already declared his preference for what can be described as the ‘third party’ in UP. So, it is not necessary that the ‘Bhatija-Bua’ combine will mop up all of the anti-BJP votes.
In West Bengal, CM Mamata Banerjee’s great worry is the emergence of the BJP as the single ‘alternative’. The increasingly emasculated Left promises only to cut into her share of the votes. In Andhra Pradesh, it is already being reported that CM Naidu’s politics has created more enemies than friends, and he faces the opposition of not just the BJP, but also a strong alliance of the TRS and YSR Congress, with the Congress lurking in the background. Rahul Gandhi’s vacillations are already taking the Congress more out of the reckoning in Kerala as the Sabarimala issue highlights the contradictions in his soft Hindutva. AAP is disintegrating in Punjab, and has a resurgent Congress under Sheila Dixit in Delhi to steal its ‘secular’ votes.
All these developments are being reported nation-wide at a much faster rate than ever before, thanks to the proliferation of social media. The most impacted by this, of course, is the middle class, whose influence on voting patterns is strong, particularly in urban areas. The likelihood of starker polarisation of political forces, therefore, becomes greater by the time of the Lok Sabha elections – things may turn out different than they seem at the present.