The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may fall short of a majority this time around, says a senior leader Ram Madhav, the party’s national general secretary. In a recent interview, Madhav said the BJP will be forced to depend on allies to form the government at the centre as it will fall short of an absolute majority.
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Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut is also of the similar views, saying that ‘its not 2014’. “The statement by Ram Madhav is true. This is what I currently sense in the country, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will form the government with the BJP as the single largest party, but it will be somewhat difficult for BJP to win 280-plus votes.” The sudden arithmetical shift because of opposition alliances is very much likely to deprive the BJP of the absolute majority. However, Raut said they believe that the NDA will cross the 300 mark. He added that absolute parties across various states will emerge stronger in the ongoing elections.
Madhav said the party will make expected losses in the north Indian states it swept in 2014 with new gains in the country’s remote northeast as well as in the eastern states of West Bengal and Odisha. “It will pursue pro-growth policies if it returns to power and has not shifted from a focus on economic reforms to one based on populist cash handouts.
However, Madhav’s statements are contrary to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s comments in April, that the BJP will win a mandate greater than 2014 in the 2019 elections. Jaitley in his blog had highlighted that the party had won 31 per cent of the votes in the 2014 general elections and 282 out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. “The BJP seems to be making substantial gains in Eastern states while it is likely to win the polls in Karnataka.” Jaitley also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public approval rating hovers between 60 per cent and 70 per cent which is unprecedented in India.