NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India will only see piecemeal pro-market reforms after the general election, a Reuters poll of 14 leading analysts has predicted.
An alliance led by the ruling Congress Party has lost ground over the last week amid coalition squabbles and may need leftist support to win office, the analysts added.
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.
Many reforms have often been blocked during the Congress-led government, often due to opposition from former communist allies.
A group of smaller political parties, including the communists, have launched a “Third Front” in a bid to provide an alternative to the two main national coalitions. The Third Front has slowly gained ground in the poll over the last two weeks.
Congress has struggled to put together its alliance, unable to secure agreements for seat sharing with some key partners in states like Bihar and Tamil Nadu.
On average, analysts said there was a 21 percent chance a Congress-led alliance, without communist support, would win. That was down from 25 percent in last week’s poll and 27 percent the week before.
There was a 33 percent possibility the Congress would win with communist support, two points higher from the previous week.
The chance of an NDA victory was 23 percent, down from 24 percent last week.
There was a 22 percent possibility of a Third Front government, up three points from last week.
India holds its general election from April 16 to May 13. Counting will be on May 16.
Reuters surveyed 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. Last week’s results are in brackets.
1) DO YOU THINK THE NEW GOVERNMENT WILL CARRY OUT MAJOR PRO-MARKET ECONOMIC REFORMS?
a) Pro-market reforms - 3 choices
b) Unlikely, but maybe a few piecemeal measures - 9 choices
c) None at all - 0 choices
* Two analysts were unsure about their choice.
2) HOW MANY SEATS DO YOU THINK CONGRESS AND THE BJP WILL
CONGRESS Average 138 (140) - Median 140 (140)
BJP Average 127 (129) - Median 130 (130)
(There are 543 elected seats in parliament)
a) A UPA-led government with communist support
Average 33 pct (31) Median 38 pct (30)
b) A UPA-led government without communist support
Average 21 pct (25) Median 23 pct (25)
c) An NDA-led government
Average 23 pct (24) Median 24 pct (25)
d) A Third Front-led coalition
Average 22 pct (19) Median 20 (13 pct)
4) Who will be the next Prime Minister of India?
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh - 11 choices
Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee - 1
Mayawati (Uttar Pradesh state leader) - 1
Mulayam Singh Yadav - 1 (Samajwadi party chief)
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, senior political analyst, Nomura International; 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.
* This analyst was not available this week, so his previous week’s predictions were included.
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