There are many Chief Ministers who are taking the 2014 parliament elections very seriously. They are ambitious and have made the 2014 election into a referendum on themselves. Sensing that the Congress party has gone down and that the BJP might not form a government, many Chief Ministers have fancied a situation whereby they will have a major control in the 2014 government. Every chief Minster dreams of a situation like 1996 when Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister and both the BJP and the Congress were not part of the government.
The Chief Ministers who do not belong to the Congress or the BJP will face serious consequences if the results of the Parliament elections are not favorable to them or they do not come up to expectations. Whatever the results, the Congress chief ministers and BJP ministers will not be affected very much. But the other Chief Ministers will face problems if the results are bad.
The Non-Congress and Non-BJP Chief Ministers have staked their political careers on favorable results. They have taken a gamble that they will become big players at the national scene. If they fail, l then they will face internal problems, dissidence and the opposition parties trying to topple their governments. The Chief Ministers of Bihar, Bengal, Jharkhand, Tamilnadu , Uttar Pradesh and Odisha fall into this category. They are all non-aligned with neither the BJP nor Congress. They have taken a big gamble in trying to maintain their identity in the hope of greater gains after the 2014.
All these Chief Ministers also gamble that neither the Congress nor the BJP will form a government. They sincerely hope that the BJP will not cross 180 MPs. If the BJP fails to cross 180 MPs, then it will not get allies to form a government. Their plans are to form a government of their own with the support of the Congress preferably to stop the BJP. That is why we frequently hear of a non-BJP and non-Congress government. But if the Chief Ministers fails in their states then they will face serious consequences.
a. The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitesh Kumar has taken the biggest gamble by leaving the BJP front, saying that he cannot ally with Narendra Modi. This sounded very intelligent a year ago. But today all the surveys show that out of 40 MPs in Bihar, Nitesh Kumar might win 5 MPs. This is a major decline for the Chief Minister. Nitesh Kumar expected the full support of the Bihar Muslims. He thought that the Muslims would be very grateful. The ground reality is that the Muslims in Bihar like Nitesh Kumar but they like themselves more. They have shown they have no permanent loyalty for Nitesh Kumar. Now it looks as if Nitesh Kumar will only win 5 out of 40MPs. This means that his government will definitely fall after the elections No MLA wants to be on the losing side. There is certainty that Nitesh Kumar will lose office unless s he wins many MPs. That looks impossible.
b. Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal looks much stronger that Nitesh Kumar of Bihar. Out of 42 MPs, she won 19 in 2009in alliance with Congress. Now she is aiming for at least 30 MPs. Whether she wins 30 MPs or not, it will not matter to her government’s survival since there is no opposition to her. But estimates are that she might win between 25- 30 MPs and she hopes o play a bigger role in Delhi. Time will tell whether this will happen. But she will emerge stronger.
c. Mulayam Singh of Uttar Pradesh has 21 MPs out of 80 presently. A year ago, he aimed at 40- 50 MPs. Now all surveys show that he will be reduced to about 15 MPs. His will reduce his prestige and efforts to become a prime Minister contender. But there is no opposition in the state assembly with sufficient number to pull him down. N other party has enough MLAs to mater. Therefore, if Mulayam Singh does badly, he will lose prestige. But his son will continue in office. For Mulayam Singh, the best government in Delhi will be a government where he becomes at least a minister If that s not possible, the he will not mind a BJP government. But he does not u e does not want a Conges s government.
d. Naveen Patnaik of Odisha is facing both assembly and parliament elections. Other than Andhra Pradesh, this is the only state where there are two elections. All surveys show that he will win the state assembly elections and get a majority of MPs in Odisha. His position does not look as if it will change. But secretly he hopes that he will be accepted as a neutral candidate for Prime Minister. Naveen Patnaik has no alliance with any party. He is on good terms with Jayalalitha of Tamilnadu and Mamata Banerjee of Bengal. He enjoys good relations with most leaders since he carefully keeps away from all fronts and politics. He might emerge as the prime Minister if a non-Congress and Non-BJP government is going to be formed. The Congress would prefer him the most.
However, it is a fact that Narendra Modi has attracted huge crowds at hi public meetings. If Naveen Patnaik performs below the expected levels, then he will face problems in his next tenure. He has amassed too many local enemies.
e. Jayalalitha of Tamilnadu has also emerged with major national ambitions and she has not shied away from saying that if there is a chance, she would like to be Prime Minister. She feels that when Deve Gowda and Inder Gujral can be Prime Minister, why not she ? Jayalalitha is also banking on a major gamble that the BJP will not be able to form a government. She believes that if the BJP cannot form a government, then the Non-Congress and Non-BJP allies will get together and the Congress will be forced to support her to have a secular government. Logically, this is a good argument. But politics is never logical and things may turn very differently.
Jayalalitha is expected to do well in Tamilnadu since it is a 4-cornered contest. She has only to get 25% f the votes. Even if she does not do well, there is no threat of her government falling. But if the BJP forms a government without her support, then she will face the severe onslaught of Narendra Modi. The BJP can make things difficult for her. The BJP can give positions to its allies and they will be able to create momentum against Jayalalitha. In public perception, Jayalalitha will look weak if the BJP forms a government.
f. Siddaramiah of Karnataka is a Congress Chief Minister. Two months ago, Siddaramaih looked very strong and it looked as if the Congress might sweep Karnataka and get a big share of the 28 MPs. Now, it looks as if the BJP will get more seats than the Congress. The problem for Siddaramiah is that if his performance is poor, then his opponents in the Congress will l become active and create problems. If the Congress party is out of power in Delhi, then dissidence is easy to control. But if the Congress is out of power in Delhi, then the dissidents are not really worried. The stakes are high for Siddaramiah.
Harish Rawat is the Congress, Chief Minister of Uttaranchal. He just took over from the disastrous rule of Vijay Bahuguna, who spoiled the image of the Congress. Harish Rawat is very able and well liked. But the damage might have been done. In 2009, Congress won all the 5 MPs from Utranchal. Now if the Congres s is unable to retain at least 2 out of the 5, then the government may fall. In small states, every change in public opinion is immediately felt. At the moment, the Congress position is very weak.
h. Arvind Kejriwal: Former Chief Minister of Delhi
Strangely, none of the powerful Chief Ministers have any influence outside their states. But ex-Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is being watched very carefully all over the country. The AAP has put up hundreds of candidates with great daring. AAP doe snto mind if ti loses badly. Butt ey are focusing on abot 20 Mp seats and hoep to win at least 10. It is critical for them to win at elast 10 MPs. Most imprtoantly, indelhi, where they hada government. AAP should win a few MPs and get a respectable percentage of the votes. If Arvind Kejriwal fails to do reasonably well in Delhi, then his career will be in difficulties. Of all the Chief Ministers in Indian, this Ex-Chef Minister has the most to win or lose. Though he is the junior most of all the Chief Ministers, all political parties are worried about him and want him to fail. Whether it is the BJP, Congress, Left parties or anyone else, they all have the same structure and same way of doing politics. If the AAP succeeds and gets votes without resorting to the usual styles, then change is in the air.
Arvind Kejriwal represents change and those who are well-entrenched are afraid of it. It looks un-likely that Kejriwal will win many seats. This is because many of his supporters are also supporters of Narendra Modi and they do not want to waste their vote. The other key change is that Muslims feel that if the Congress cannot, then they want to switch to AAP of Kejriwal. This will benefit the AAP and definitely, they might survive only because of Muslim vote in Delhi nearby areas.
Chief Ministers like Jayalalitha , Naveen Patnaik and Mamta Banerjee feel that by not allying with any party, they will have great bargaining power after the elections. Just the opposite might happen. If a BJP government is formed, without their support, then an aggressive BJP will make serious inroads in their states. The BJP will not be aggressive against their pre-poll allies. But it will be punishing with parties who were gambling.
Therefore, depending on whether the BJP can form a government without the support of some Chief Ministers, there will be serious consequences for them. Chief Ministers like Mamata Banerjee and Naveen Patnaik have made aggressive statements against Modi. A loose tongue will attract penalties at some time. The results may throw up surprises.
2014 will have serious consequences for a Non-Chief Minister …Arvind Kejriwal. If he does not do moderately well, the establishment media will go after him. As far as the others are concerned, it really does not matter whether any of them thrive or gets deleted. Neither Mamta, Jayalalitha nor Patnaik or any of the others are nation-builders. The media wants Kejriwal out .Kejriwal has taken on the biggest corporate. No one dares do that in India.