In the absence of any single party or pre-poll alliance making the cut, two questions will be important.
With the Lok Sabha election over for nearly 80 per cent of seats across the country, popular interest is growing on the nature of the coalition government that may come to power. While diehard BJP propagandists think their side will coast to a comfortable victory, broad general thinking appears to be that no single party or either of the two pre-poll electoral alliances is likely to cross the halfway mark.
We will know for sure on May 23 when the results come, of course, and in anticipation of that there is some expectation that a large number of regional parties will confabulate on May 21 in a limbering-up exercise geared toward pre-positioning. In the absence of actual results, this can only amount to guesswork and renewed socialising among the regional political forces who are preparing to play a major role in government formation at the Centre, as was the case in 1996.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had played an important role on that occasion too, and this time around he is gearing up to do the same. Earlier this week he met Congress president Rahul Gandhi as well as West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, Trinamul Congress supremo, for some political stocktaking. In the absence of any single party or pre-poll alliance making the cut, two questions will be important. The number of seats that the BJP and the Congress win as individual parties will be the key determinant of the politics of government formation. The second important question will be whether the regional parties cohere as a group.