Early polls possible but not certain, feel parties
Early elections to the Lok Sabha may be possible following the reverses suffered by the Congress in UP, Punjab and Goa, and if the UPA allies become recalcitrant. But nothing certain can be said at this stage. Shekhar Iyer & Aurangzeb Naqshbandi report.delhi Updated: Mar 11, 2012 23:55 IST
Early elections to the Lok Sabha may be possible following the reverses suffered by the Congress in UP, Punjab and Goa, and if the UPA allies become recalcitrant. But nothing certain can be said at this stage, feel political parties.
Not just the Congress, which is not in favour of elections ahead of 2014 , even the principal opposition party, the BJP, is in no great shape to face the polls now, say its leaders.
With just 47 assembly seats in UP this time, the BJP cannot hope to improve its tally in the Lok Sabha in the next few months. Given its internal problems in other states like Karnataka, the party is hardly prepared to face a snap poll. Even its partner in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, is buoyant after the civic polls but would want the Prithviraj Chavan government to run its course and earn more negative points, say its leaders.
Even the Trinamool Congress, which is the second biggest party in the UPA after the Congress, has sought to downplay railway minister Dinesh Trivedi’s comments that his party would prefer a snap election, which could benefit his party in West Bengal.
As Congress leaders see it, Mamata may be working for a non-Congress, non-BJP pressure group. She would rather bargain for more Central funds at the moment, say party sources.
Among UPA allies that have extended support from outside, Mayawati-led BSP is absolutely wary of a snap poll. “When she has decided that her party would not even contest local elections in UP, why would she root for a snap poll?” asked a BJP leader.
Similarly, DMK leaders admit that their party is in such a bad shape that they cannot think of facing the people again. DMK chief M Karunanidhi is more worried about his daughter’s being cleared in the 2G scam than about fresh elections.
Parties which could be ready to face the polls now are the ones that won their state elections recently. These include Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (U) in Bihar, Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal, which do not face formidable opposition in their states. They may like to see a new political formation, say Congress leaders.
There is unanimity in the Congress that since the UPA was given a mandate to govern the country till 2014, the party should respect the verdict of the people. “Going for mid-term polls at this point of time will be suicidal for us,” a senior leader said. “The sentiment in many states is against us.”
Union minister Harish Rawat rubbished suggestions about the re-emergence of a Third Front.