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archive: In Kargil's afterglow: BJP & allies are on a roll

In Kargil's afterglow: BJP & allies are on a roll

K Balakrishnan and GVL Narasimha Rao
Times of India
August 14, 1999


    Title: In Kargil's afterglow: BJP & allies are on a roll
    Author: K Balakrishnan and GVL Narasimha Rao
    Publication: Times of India
    Date: August 14, 1999
    
    NEW DELHI: Filing of nominations is on, and
    serious campaigning is yet to begin, but it is
    becoming clear that the BJP-led alliance is well
    on the way to a big win in the forthcoming Lok
    Sabha elections.
    
    According to the Timespoll survey by DRS
    conducted between August 5 and 9 among a
    representative sample of 8,000 voters in 51
    constituencies across the country, the BJP-led
    alliance is expected to get as much as 44 per
    cent of the national vote (a gain of 7 per cent
    over 1998), giving it an estimated 332 seats in
    the 13th Lok Sabha.
    
    This is the first time since 1984 an incumbent
    Central Government is set to return to power with
    well over 40 per cent of the national vote.
    However, the big story that comes through all the
    number crunching is the polarisation that is
    taking place between the two major political
    formations - the BJP-led alliance and the
    Congress and its allies - at the cost of the the
    third parties. Thus there is actually a 3 per
    cent vote gain for the Congress and its allies,
    yet they are estimated to bag only 138 seats (a
    loss of 27 seats from 1998), since the BJP front
    is gaining more votes and more seats at the
    expense of the third forces.
    
    The poll shows that the hopes nursed by the
    Samajwadi Party, Sharad Pawar's NCP, the BSP etc.
    of playing a key balancing role in a hung
    Parliament are unlikely to bear fruit.
    
    The polarisation that is taking place is mainly a
    result of the electorate's yearning for
    stability. Thus the two big parties are gaining
    votes, as also the allies associated with them,
    but the ``spoilers'' which are seen to be
    destabilising forces are likely to be
    marginalised.
    
    But it is the Kargil crisis and the perceived
    success of the government in handling it (74 per
    cent of the voters express themselves satisfied)
    that has proved decisive in helping the BJP
    alliance to establish an unassailable lead.
    
    With the campaigning still ahead of us and the
    elections more than two weeks away, these figures
    are no doubt to be taken as provisional. However,
    the poll shows that the undecided voters (some 13
    per cent) are leaning towards the main parties in
    the same proportion. The Timespoll final round
    forecast will be published close to the election
    dates.
    



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