Monday, May 10, 2004
MCP figure

During the 1998 elections, Jairam Ramesh, one of the few folks in Congress with intellect, was famously trashed by that party after he said that his party would have lost the MCP (moral, constitutional, and political) legitimacy to form a government if it scores below 200 seats - on live TV. The Congress did, and the rest is history.

Now, what would the MCP figure for NDA be? Ummm... let me see - I am going to assume that in post-poll arrangements, the Assom Gana Parishad (AGP), the NCP and the Telangana Rajya Samithi (TRS) would be fair game for the BJP. Put together, I would expect these parties to muster close to 20 seats. Beyond that would be the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its dreaded Mayawati, which might get around 15 seats, from UP and MP.

That being the case, I would peg the threshold to be 245-250. If the NDA fails to make it to that mark, it should stand down and let the opposition circus play itself out. Sonia is no Wile E. Coyote that PVN Rao was. Congress would also have to pay a heavy price for the cooperation of the rest of the opposition - first casualties would be the party units in WB, Kerala, and UP. Maharashtra and Telangana would also be on the block. Could Sonia afford that?

In a sense, an NDA govt now could entrench the Congress as the alternative. If the Congress holds on to its second largest party status (which I am very sure it will), Commies will all but give up hope of a non-NDA govt in Delhi, unless there is a pre-poll alliance under the leadership of the Congress. Now, that would change the dynamics quite a bit.

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