Most exit polls have projected a hung assembly in Uttar Pradesh. Even if they are proved correct, will the 403-strong assembly — like Bihar 2005 — remain deadlocked indefinitely, unable to form a government? On the eve of Friday’s counting of votes, few political pundits or parties were willing to place bets on any specific forthcoming scenario of post-poll alliances. Still, a few probable scenarios that would enable a combination of parties to reach the magical figure of 202 in the UP House have been sketched. The assembly's effective strength is 402, elections having been deferred for the Khaga seat.
Here are some of the scenarios:
Scenario 1: Mayawati within striking range of a majority
The BSP is a whisker away from power, the Congress has the additional numbers needed for a majority. That would be the best and perhaps the quickest route to government formation in UP. The Congress may well want a spell of President’s Rule following a deadlocked House, but in this situation it would have no option but to support Mayawati. Problems could only arise if the BSP and Congress together still remain some seats short of a majority, and Mayawati has to go looking for support from other non-SP, non-BJP parties as well.
Scenario 2: BJP-SP numbers adding up to a simple majority
BJP biggies loathe the idea of a tie-up with Mulayam Singh Yadav, whose removal from power was the main plank of their poll-campaign in UP. They feel any post poll tie up with SP will hurt the party’s chances in the Lok Sabha polls due in 2009. But while the BJP and SP cannot come together openly, they could agree on the Jharkhand model, with the chief minister’s post going to one of the BJP’s smaller pre-poll allies, Sone Lal Patel’s Apna Dal or the Janata Dal (United). The SP-BJP antipathy does not run as deep as that between Mulayam and Mayawati.
Scenario 3: A BSP-BJP joint venture
Mayawati and the BJP are not exactly comfortable with each other. However, the turf war for the forward caste vote has not turned them into sworn enemies either.
If the arithmetic works out favourably, the saffron party may well become the BSP’s choice for a joint venture, the exact nature of which could be negotiated. For the UPA, Mayawati’s exit from the so-called secular domain will spell disaster in the July presidential elections, unless, of course, Mulayam takes the same position as the Left on the matter. After all, the third front image presented during the poll campaign has to be sustained.
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