With two days left for polling to end, you’d have to be a soothsayer extraordinaire to predict the outcome of elections 2009. The swirling political waters have thrown up more permutations and combinations than anyone can remember and perhaps, that’s what’s made this largely issueless election so riveting. As of now, all eyes seem to be on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar whose role in the final outcome could be crucial. So, the Congress has made it clear that its doors are open to him even as the BJP has reiterated that he is going nowhere from the NDA. This suggests that he will trump RJD supremo Lalu Yadav on his own turf, which explains why the latter stayed away from a recent Cabinet meeting. The speed with which retribution was visited on AICC media chief and Congress loyalist Veerappa Moily after he made indiscreet remarks about Mr Kumar suggests that the Congress is willing to go many extra miles to woo the Bihar CM.
The Congress also seems to be pulling out all the stops in Tamil Nadu where both the AIADMK and DMK heavyweights J. Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi are being talked about as potential allies. For the moment, from the looks of it, the efforts are on to try and be in sync with the sentiments of Mr Karunanidhi on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue. No one is queuing up at Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav’s door after he has named his price — dismissal of the Mayawati government in return for his support. While the big two are out with their nets for allies, intrepid CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat does not seem to have given up on the nebulous Third Front. His meeting with the BJD’s Navin Patnaik and hopeful remarks about pulling in Mr Kumar and J. Jayalalithaa may seem far-fetched but Mr Karat is working at it ceaselessly. What he can offer Mr Kumar in lieu of the Bihar government that is propped up by the BJP is unclear to everyone unless Mr Karat has some ace up his sleeve that he is yet to reveal.
As for the BSP’s Mayawati, she seems to be keeping her powder dry, clear as she is that the top post should go to her. So too, NCP strongman Sharad Pawar. Undoubtedly, there is feverish activity behind the scenes. But since few are willing to go beyond the odd hint, we have no choice but to wait for the thrilling finale that could be anytime after May 16.