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2019 Lok Sabha election: With Shiv Sena & CPM deciding to quit their respective alliances, it won't be a bi-polar contest
In the run up to 2019 general election, we must have to factor the outcome of eight state Assembly elections that are to be held in 2018. The most critical assemblies going to polls this year are Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where the main national parties BJP and Congress are direct contestants.

In Karnataka, although the JDS is a significant player but it is most likely to end up only as a king maker if there's a hung Assembly. Political analysts expect that Congress will lose Karnataka while the BJP might lose Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. That's why many apprehend that the Modi government may opt to conduct the Lok Sabha election in the later part of 2018 along with these state Assembly polls. If that happens then the analysis will be a bit different.

However, as of now, I consider that the general election will be held as per schedule in 2019. As I see it, the results of the general elections will more or less depend upon how other parties (except the Congress and the BJP) form alliances.

CPM has already passed a draft resolution rejecting any truck with the Congress. Although Sitaram Yechury wanted a coalition with the Congress but Prakash Karat group prevailed in the end. I think both Yechury and Karat are right in their places. CPM suffered a lot in Bengal because of an alliance with Congress. More importantly, it reduced to number 3 party there.

However, Yechury is also right that unless there is be a bi-polar election it would be difficult to defeat the BJP. Even the Congress would be at a disadvantage if it doesn't get direct support from the Left front although I believe that there would be some unofficial arrangement on seat sharing in some states.

Shiv Sena has also decided not to form an alliance with the BJP. Frankly speaking, the BJP should be happy with this decision. There's a chance that the Congress, BJP, Shiv Sena and NCP will contest separately. In such a scenario the BJP would be benefit the most. But there are also rumours that there could be some arrangement or pact between the Shiv Sena and Congress. If that happens then there could be an alliance between the BJP and NCP. However, I feel as all four are asserting parties, it's difficult for any two to reach an agreement on seat sharing. At most there could be a post-poll arrangement, if not pre-poll.

There are also some problem between the TDP and BJP. The news is going around that N Chandra Babu Naidu is unhappy with the BJP. If finally that happens then YSR Congress may play a significant role. But I think the TDP will prefer to remain in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

There would be seat sharing problems in Bihar as the JDU has joined the NDA. The BJP, LJP and other allies have more seats than the JDU. Thus, it would be interesting to see how the seat arrangement is closed. Most likely there would be some dissidence in Bihar which would be counterproductive for the NDA.

In Karnataka, post-Assembly election, the JDS is likely to join with the UPA. In Tamil Nadu, Rajinikanth is the new factor. It's difficult to assess for now what electoral success Rajinikath achieves but it can be taken for granted that whatever success he achieves will benefit the NDA.

The main problem for the Congress is in Uttar Pradesh. Can the Congress, BSP and SP form an alliance? If yes, will their vote share increase? There are some vote banks of the SP and BSP which are inimical to each other. What would happen if both parties form a coalition? The point to be remembered is that UP holds the key to success in the 2019 general election. If a successful alliance is formed between the SP-BSP-Congress, then the BJP would be losing seriously.

Regarding TRS, TMC, BJD and the AIDMK, I think they will not be part of any alliance during the election. However, the TMC if required can give support to the UPA whereas TRS, AIDMK and the BJD would be leaning to support the NDA.

The bottom-line is that 2019 Lok Sabha elections don't appear to turning out as a bi-polar contest although both the NDA and UPA have many thing to sort-out inside their respective alliances. For now, the Shiv Sena is out of the NDA and CPM is out of the UPA.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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