Looking east : a revised arithmetic for 2019

If there is one thing that characterizes Modi’s new BJP, it is a relentless pursuit of victory. No sooner had the party received a positive signal from Odisha panchayat polls, the BJP’s armies have turned out in full force to lay seige to Bhubaneswar. You have to give the party an A+ for effort.

Part of this is driven by Amit Shah’s stated effort to make the BJP dominate everywhere from panchayat to parliament. But, underlying the BJP’s frantic efforts is also the calculation that 2019 is well nigh impossible without a big haul from virgin territory in the east.

It is not hard to see that the BJP will be the single largest party in 2019. That debate was settled in 2014 itself. The problem is hitting the 272 seat mark on its own. Because the way things are shaping up, BJP will find itself on the opposition benches if they fall even 1 seat short of the majority mark. So terrifying has been the BJP’s rise that every other party in the country has been pushed beyond desperation to stem the wave.

So, I have resolved today to perform a rough calculation, taking into account all the Mahagathbandhans that might be around in 2019. I suspect there could even be a Sena + NCP + Cong mahagathbandhan, but it seems Devendra Fadnavis is making deft moves to prevent it.

Let’s start. The BJP has 282 Lok Sabha seats right now. It can afford to lose just 10 seats.

Tight. Very tight.

First let us take the direct Congress vs BJP states. Thankfully, mahagathbandhans have no effect here : Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Chhattisgarh. If we assume an attrition of 2 seats in each of these states, we are down 8 seats.

I am assuming that the BJP will retain its tallies in the small states of Delhi, Himachal,  Uttarakhand and Goa.

Now let us come to the first state where the BJP will face a mahagathbandhan. That would be Bihar. The BJP’s tally could sink in Bihar from 21 to 10 or so. Let’s assume we lose another 10 seats in Bihar.

Uttar Pradesh next. Here a mahagathbandhan could cost the BJP as many as 35 Lok Sabha seats. Huge huge hit!

So, where are we now? An estimated loss of 53 seats. How many can we afford to lose? Just 10. The BJP therefore needs to offset some 45 seats in order to make it to 272.

Where can these 45 seats come from?

Thankfully, there are some blanks on the map. The first place is Karnataka, where the BJP had won 17 out of the 28 seats in 2014. The BJP has to sweep Karnataka in 2019. Let’s say it does: this will add some 6-7 seats.

Where next? Thankfully, there is Odisha, with its 21 seats on offer. The BJP needs to make a massive splash here and fish out a minimum of 11 of the state’s 21 seats. Can they do it? I don’t know, but without these seats the BJP would most likely be toast.

A large part of whether the BJP can score 272 in 2019 will depend on how many seats it can win in Bengal. Just to remind people, Bengal happens to be the third largest state in the union after Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Could the BJP gain 10 seats from Bengal? That’s the bare minimum it needs.

This adds up to around 25 new seats. The BJP needs 45 new seats in 2019 to reach the 272 mark. Where will these 20 new seats come from? Your guess is as good as mine. The BJP could sneak out 2-3 seats in Kerala if it tries hard and maybe another couple from Telangana. The North East could come through for another couple of seats. That’s about it.

We’re still falling some 10 seats short of the 272 mark. At least. 

Personally, I feel the moment has come for the BJP to pull off a Machiavellian move with respect to Mayawati. Her party has been shrunk to a mere 19 seats. In the past, the BJP has successfully absorbed many Dalit forces like Paswan, Athavale and Udit Raj. Perhaps it is time for the BJP to do something about the BSP. Offer Mayawati a perch and a small role in the NDA dispensation. She has been out of power since 2012. Next year, she is scheduled to lose even her Rajya Sabha seat. Her Lok Sabha representation is already down to zero.

It is time for BJP to make Mayawati an offer that she can’t refuse. 10 Lok Sabha seats offered to Mayawati in 2019 can give the BJP 70 seats from Uttar Pradesh. If you ask me, it’s worth the tradeoff.


12 thoughts on “Looking east : a revised arithmetic for 2019

  1. If BJP becomes a force in WB(42 LS seats),Odisha(21 LS seats) and Telangana(17 LS seats)(total of 80 LS seats),it will rule India for a long time.It is already the ally of TDP in AP and could get support from AIADKM in TN and is already the ally of PDP in J&K.It is theoretically possible that NDA could rule all states in India except Kerala,Mizoram and Tripura(maybe even Mizoram if ally MNF does well) if it becomes a force in these 3 states.


  2. In Telangana,KCR wants to give Muslims 12% quota and he is known to appease Muslims.Telangana has no opposition just like Odisha(there is infighting in Cong and BJP does not have a single strong leader).KCR has already done half the job for BJP by appeasing Muslims.BJP needs to complete the other half on it’s own by finding good leaders.


  3. By the way,you seem to have completely forgotten about the 18 LS seats won by Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.It is entirely possible that BJP could win at least 10 of these.


  4. Being from AP,I believe that Chandrababu Naidu is the best man to lead AP(I support BJP in all states except in AP and Sikkim).But his son is totally horrible.I don’t see an opening for BJP till Chandrababu is there(and that is a good thing IMO) but once his son takes over,BJP will get an opening which I hope it exploits.


    1. Good to see you back Chaiwalla.. , This is my very first comment. This is a very well analysed post.., And Advance Congratulations , next month you would hit the two year timeline mark since your first post on May 31 2015. All your Articles have such an amazing sense of humor ,style,wit ,Satire .. which engrosses the reader.., I dodnt think any blogger would be so consistent writing with this enthusiasm and interest everyday. Hope to expect some quick tips on how to write” The Chaiwalla’s” way of writing. 🙂


  5. May be we are giving too much credit to Mahagathbandhan. Just look at SP+Congress Gathbandhan. It worked once in Bihar does not mean will work (even in Bihar) again.

    Don’t forget Pseudo Seculars are doing everything to help BJP. I thought that after UP debacle, the Pseudo Seculars will wise up and tone down their stupid attacks on BJP/Modi. It lasted only couple of days. Now they have started again with added fervent. They remained quite when our soldier was insulted and beaten but they shouted from roof-top about a stone pelter was tied on jeep. Farooq Abdullah’s victory was played up as if he won Indian PM-ship. They mis-represent what BJP leaders have said, case in point Sita’s birth place unknown !


    1. yes,CW is highly overestimating the mahagatbandhan in UP and Bihar.

      I am pretty certain that 2019 will see a repeat of 2019 here.

      people should understand that Yogi is very popular there.Please don’t go by what the MSM is saying.They are irrelevent


    1. Correct. It is one of the mahagathbandhans that I am too scared to name. But its definitely out there. After May 2018 it might well take shape. This is true frustration … winning elections is a problem 😦


      1. If BJP does not win Karnataka 2018 polls, we can be certain of a BJP come back in centre in 2019. Because for the last so many years in Karnataka, both state and centre were not ruled by the same combination.


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