NEW DELHI: Allies and foes alike are blowing the mid-term poll bugle causing panic in the Congress and the BJP. The latest statement of SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav saying general elections are a likelihood before 2014 has pushed panic buttons in the national parties.
Mulayam is not alone. Others who want mid-term polls are Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, Orissa Chief Minister and BJD leader Naveen Patnaik, SAD leader and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Small parties such as the TDP and AGP are also raising their voices for midterm polls. The AIADMK, BJD, JD(U) and TMC want elections as early as possible to exploit their assembly and byelection victories.
At the moment in a House of 542, they hold 447 seats. According to their calculations, if the mid-term polls are held within a year they will improve their tally to 486. It is this optimism that is driving the regional parties, their pocket calculators working overtime. The SP hopes to increase its tally from 22 to 52, BSP from 21 to 25, TMC from 19 to 30, Akalis from 4 to 11, AIADMK friom 9 to 30 and BJD from 14 to 18. The JD(U) tally of 20 remains the same. The BJP goes up to 140 from 114 and the Congress down to 150 from 206, making it impossible for the national parties to get the majority of 275.
The regional parties’ hope to play a dominant role in electing the President, Vice-president and unltimately who becomes prime minister. They will also be able to influence the distribution of importrant portfolios. Even in the NDA government and now in the UPA’s, regional parties were given insignificant portfolios and important departments like Home and Defence.