Why 17 April may spell gloom for the prospects of a Modi wave

                                                                      By Ajit Sahi

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is on a roll. A smattering of opinion polls has forecast a mammoth win for it in the ongoing Lok Sabha election. If that happens, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would return to power in New Delhi next month after a gap of ten years. It is claimed that the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, has so electrified the hundreds of millions with his promise of great governance that the incumbent Congress party-led government at the Centre would be ground to dust and blown off. The prophecy may well turn out correct, for who knows what lies in the future? But to make their living, middlebrow analysts such as this writer, who are endowed with neither clairvoyance nor the telepathic vision that can spot metaphorical waves, must stick to the humdrum of past electoral records. In the BJP’s case, that data doesn’t inspire much confidence in the 121 seats that voted on April 17 in the largest of the nine phases of the Lok Sabha elections. The NDA must win in Karnataka, where all 28 Lok Sabha seats voted on 17 April, as well as in Rajasthan, where 20 of 25 seats polled that day, Maharashtra (19 of 48 seats), Uttar Pradesh (11 of 80 seats), Odisha (11 of 21), Madhya Pradesh (10 of 29), Bihar (seven of 40), Jharkhand (six of 14), West Bengal (four of 42), and Chhattisgarh (three of 11). But vote shares in past elections suggest the NDA is on weak ground in the 17 April seats of at least UP, Karnataka and Bihar. Karnataka Routed in the 2013 assembly elections after ruling it for five years, the BJP believes former chief minister-turned-rebel BS Yeddyurappa’s return to it has put it back in the reckoning for the Lok Sabha. Much before scams in mine sales led to his downfall, BSY had scripted the BJP’s maiden assembly win in 2008 and also its triumph in 19 of the state’s 28 Lok Sabha seats a year later. Narendra Modi at a rally. AFP. Such had been his grip over Karnataka in 2009 that the 

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