On the day the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, former Union minister and Congressman-turned-BJP strategist Arun Nehru‘s back-of-the-envelope calculations, published in The Pioneer, Delhi, of where the two “national” parties stand.
The verdict: Congress 149, BJP 135. In other words, the “regional” parties still hold the key at this point for either the UPA or the NDA to reach 272.
Unless, of course….
Sheela Bhatt on rediff.com:
“If one looks from New Delhi, it seems that the Congress has an overall edge compared to other contestants. But if you view the Congress’s prospects from the state capitals, they seem hardly encouraging. If Congress loses dramatically in Andhra Pradesh (it has 29 seats in the outgoing house) and Tamil Nadu (10 seats), it will almost certainly lose the game.
“The reverse is true for the BJP. From New Delhi, the BJP looks divided, confused and devoid of fresh ideas. But in a few crucial states it seems that the party is set to take advantage of the anti-incumbency of the United Progressive Alliance government. In the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra, the issues of terrorism and economy are hot and will harm the Congress.”
Graphic: courtesy The Pioneer