Chasing the magical 30 figure mark Sparring partners ?
No one is taking it easy. Not the political parties, not the candidates themselves, not the die hard supporters/agents and certainly not the leikai experts who seem to have worked out the intricate details. Suddenly one sees numerous experts coming from different backgrounds expounding on the coming Assembly election and giving their own version on what will be the most likely outcome after the Assembly election, which will be held in two phases, February 28 and March 5. The only hitch is, no one keeps a record of the pre-poll prognosis offered by the numerous leikai experts who have taken the art of studying pre-poll intricacies to something of a science and this has not stopped the interested folks from surrounding such ‘experts’ and listening to their daily sermon over a hot cup of chai in the neighbourhood tea stall or the pan dukan which is everyone’s haunt after dinner ! The big fight will obviously between the two big-the BJP and the Congress, but with so many ‘snubbed’ intending candidates having signed up with the JD (U) and the NPP, these two political parties will be no pushovers. This could be one primary reason why this has prompted Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar from going hammer and tongs against the BJP, even going to the extent to claiming that the NPP will emerge as the single largest political party after the election. How much this would encourage the voters to go in for the NPP is a matter of speculation, but this particular line lies bang opposite the claim of the Chief Minister and State BJP president A Sharda Devi that the BJP is looking to form the next Government alone by bagging over 40 seats. This is what has added that much more masala to the coming Assembly election and making things all that more interesting is not the verbal exchange between the BJP and the Congress, the big two, who are seen to be the two main rivals in the political arena, but the verbal torrents aimed against the BJP by the NPP, which are partners in the Government. How things unfold after the election is anybody’s guess, but remember the NPP and BJP are partners at New Delhi and at Meghalaya too.
It is amid this unpredictable pre-poll climate that the JD (U) has suddenly emerged as an interesting option to the voters. With so many potential winners in the election looked over the BJP, when it named its 60 candidates, many went over to the JD (U) and suddenly it is no longer a party which may be seen as just another addendum. Given that no political party is likely cross the 30 member mark in the Assembly, the importance of the JD (U) may become more pronounced after the election. Even now its bearing on the coming election cannot be ruled out and this is something which must have weighed in on the big two, the BJP and the Congress. The NPF which has a strong presence in the Naga dominated districts has been maintaining a dignified distance from all the mud slinging between different parties so far but this should not diminish its potential as a key player after the Assembly election. Its presence may be limited to the Naga dominated districts, but such is its hold and sway on the people, it may be able to beat its previous showing of 4 MLAs. In just a 60 member House, with no single party likely to get a clear cut majority, it is the smaller parties which can have a major say in Government formation and this is what the NPF will definitely be looking forward to. 2022 is no longer 2012 and as Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar has maintained on more than one occasion, the chances of a single party bagging as much as 42 seats, as the Congress did back in 2012, is absolutely nil. Take this observation a little further and it could well mean that no party will secure absolute majority, meaning all will fall short of the magical figure of 30. This is what has made the run up to the election all that more interesting.