NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An alliance led by the ruling left-of-centre 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 Hindu-nationalist 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 percent chance a Congress-led alliance would win, but would need communist party support to stay in power. They said there was a 27 percent 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 Hindu nationalists from forming government.
Those polled said, on average, there was a 23 percent chance of an NDA victory and only an 18 percent possibility of a Third Front government.
India holds its general election from April 16 to May 13. Counting will be on May 16.
Reuters surveyed 14 analysts from a variety of backgrounds, including universities, pollsters and banks, on Monday and Tuesday. The poll does not aim to be scientific but to give readers a snapshot of how some of the leading India analysts are thinking.
The following are the results of their replies. Reuters will repeat this survey on a weekly basis each Tuesday.
HOW MANY SEATS DO YOU THINK CONGRESS AND THE BJP WILL WIN?
CONGRESS Average 144 - Median 143
BJP Average 130 - Median 130
(There are 543 elected seats in parliament)
a) A UPA-led government with communist support
Average 32 pct Median 30 pct
b) A UPA-led government without communist support
Average 27 pct Median 28 pct
c) An NDA-led government
Average 23 pct Median 25 pct
d) A Third Front-led coalition
Average 18 pct Median10 pct
3) Who will be the next Prime Minister of India?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - 12 choices
Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee — 1
Mayawati (Uttar Pradesh state leader - 1
L.K. Advani (BJP leader) - 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 Magazine;
13) V. ANANTHA NAGESWARAN, Chief Investment Officer, Asia Pacific, Julius Baer;
14) YASHWANT DESHMUKH, Head of C-Voter Polling Agency.
For more election-related online stories click: here