New Delhi: An alliance led by the Congress Party is most likely to win the next general election but it could need communist support to build a majority, a Reuters poll of 14 leading analysts has predicted.
The main battle of the April-May election will be between the Congress Party-led coalition, known as the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
A group of smaller political parties, including the communists, have formally launched a “Third Front” in a bid to provide an alternative to the two main national coalitions.
On average, analysts said there was a 32% chance a Congress-led alliance would win, but would need communist party support to stay in power. They said there was a 27% possibility the Congress would win without leftist support.
The leftist parties withdrew their support last year for the government over a civilian nuclear deal with the United States, but some analysts say they could rejoin in order to stop the BJP-led coalition from forming government. Those polled said, on average, there was a 23% chance of an NDA victory and only an 18% possibility of a Third Front government.
India holds its general election from 16 April to 13 May. Counting will be on 16 May.
Reuters surveyed 14 analysts from a variety of backgrounds, including universities, pollsters and banks, on Monday and Tuesday.
The following are the results of their replies.
1) How many seats do you think Congress and the BJP will win?
(There are 543 elected seats in Parliament)
2) Assign percentages to the following scenarios:
a) A UPA-led government with communist support
b) A UPA-led government without communist support
c) An NDA-led government
d) A Third Front-led coalition
3) Who will be the next Prime Minister of India?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh 12 choices
Foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee 1
Mayawati (Uttar Pradesh chief minister) 1
L.K. Advani (Leader of the Opposition) 0
Those polled were: 1) Amulya Ganguli, independent analyst; 2) Mahesh Rangarajan, independent analyst; 3) Phani Sekhar, fund manager, Angel Broking; 4) T.K. Bhaumik, chief economist, JK Organisation; 5) Alastair Newton , political analyst, Nomura Securities; 6) Rupa Rege Nitsure, chief economist, Bank of Baroda, Mumbai; 7) Pran Chopra, independent political commentator; 8) D.H. Pai Panandikar, The RPG Foundation; 9) Dr N. Bhaskara Rao, Centre for Media Studies; 10) Professor Sudha Pai, Jawahar Lal Nehru University; 11) Seema Desai, Eurasia Group; 12) Vinod Mehta, editor-in chief, Outlook ; 13) V. Anantha Nageswaran, chief investment officer, Asia Pacific, Julius Baer; 14) Yashwant Deshmukh, head of C-Voter Polling Agency.
(The poll does not aim to be scientific but to give readers a snapshot of how some of the leading India analysts are thinking.)