What could be the strategy of Regional Parties?

Regional parties could hold the keys of govt. formation at the center as most surveys predict a hung assembly. What will they do? Who will they support – NDA or UPA? This is analyzed in detail below. The main assumption of this article is that it will either be a UPA led or NDA led govt. at the center.

First lets have a look at parties which do are not part of any pre-poll alliance.

(i) Samajwadi Party:

Support NDA – Never

Support UPA – Yes, It already provides outside support to current UPA govt. Might even join govt. if able to snatch a good deal.

(ii) Bahujan Samaj Party:

Support NDA – Yes (probability low). It has formed govt. in Uttar Pradesh with BJP in the past. Relationship soured after that. A good deal, specifically, bifurcation of UP state into ¾ smaller states and helping Maya to become CM in at least 1 of those states could lead it to support NDA. Enemy of BJP & BSP is common – SP / Mulayam.

Support UPA – Yes, probability high. It already provides outside support to current UPA govt. Might even join govt. if able to snatch a good deal.

(iii) Janata Dal (United):

Support NDA – Never

Support UPA – Yes. It could provide outside support. Might even join govt. if able to get a good deal (special status for Bihar).

Party likely to split and a section led by Sharad Yadav could support NDA.

(iv) Left Front:

Support NDA – Never

Support UPA – Yes. It could provide outside support to UPA govt. in name of preventing communal forces (NDA) from coming to power. It did provide such support to UPA I before nuclear deal.

(v) Biju Janata Dal:

Support NDA – Yes (probability medium). It was part of NDA govt. during 1998-2004. Even in Orissa both BJP and BJD were allies in govt. Things could change if BJP emerges stronger in Odisha. BJP emerging as principal opposition party to BJD is likely to impact its decision.

Support UPA – Never, as Congress is currently its biggest opposition party in Orissa.

(vi) AIADMK:

Support NDA – Yes (probability medium). Amma has good equations with Modi which will help. BJP stitching an alliance and making a dent into her vote base has annoyed her though.

Support UPA – Yes if Congress dumps DMK publicly. Though DMK has ditched Congress, Congress has not closed doors for rapproachment.

So she could go either ways. She is an unreliable partner having played a crucial role in Vajpayee’s govt. downfall. NDA would not want to depend upon her support.

(vii) YSR Congress:

Support NDA – Yes. Will have no other choice, than to be in good books, to get some reprieve from CBI. Plus if he becomes CM of Seemandhra will need funds from center.

Support UPA – Despite lot of animosity with Congress, could still support it by striking a deal wrt CBI cases.

He will go with whoever forms government.

(viii) Trinamool Congress:

Support NDA – No. Was part of NDA govt. during 1998-2004. Recently there has been lot of animosity as BJP getting stronger in W.Bengal and resultantly cutting into her vote base. This has made her jittery / nervous and relationship has reached a point of no return.

Support UPA – No. Was part of govt. in UPA I and UPA II till very recently. It will not be with Left Front in same govt. and Left expected to support Congress.

(ix) Telangana Rashtriya Samiti

Support NDA – Yes. Was part of NDA govt. during 1998-2004. Like Jagan has no choice and would like to be in good books of center for funds for Telangana.

Support UPA – Yes.

Will go with whoever forms the govt.

(x) Aam Aadmi Party 

Support NDA – Never.

Support UPA – Yes, pay back time for AAP. Ideologically it is close to Congress.

(xi) DMK:

Support NDA – Yes (probability medium). Karuna has praised Modi before elections. Also to get some CBI reprieve for his daughter and other ministers. Condition can’t be in same govt. with Amma / Jaya.

Support UPA – Yes. To be in good books of center. Could go back to UPA.

So he could go either ways. Some may argue TN state elections are 2 years away and he would not want to risk minority vote bank by allying with BJP. Please be reminded that DMK was in NDA govt. of 1999-2004. Could join and pull rug before state elections.

Both YSR Congress and TRS will have to provide outside support as TDP might oppose their entry into cabinet. DMK also could provide outside support and not join ministry. They may want but BJP would not want to give any ministries to DMK.

Now lets have a look at parties which are part of either UPA or NDA and whether they will switch alliances.

NDA: NDA is a rainbow coalition of 28 parties currently led by BJP. Most of these parties are very small (0 / 1 MP) and have joined the bandwagon recently to capture the Modi wave. Shiv Sena and Akali Dal are the mainstay of the coalition and won’t leave it at any cost. Even TDP won’t dump NDA. All other 24 parties can dump the coalition for better prospects. Comfort factor is that they together won’t account for more than 10 seats.

UPA: UPA is a rainbow coalition of 12 parties currently led by Congress. Some of the partners have left due to dwindling prospects like DMK. RLD (Ajit Singh), RJD (Lalu), NCP (pawar), JMM (Soren) and NC (Abdullah) are the mainstay of the coalition. Lalu won’t leave the coalition at any cost and support NDA. Ajit Singh is a habitual hopper and could change sides. JMM is another party which keeps on hopping. It is currently heading the Jharkhand govt. supported by Congress 18 MLAs. Incidentally BJP also has 18 MLAs and JMM govt. could still survive, if it hops to NDA and Congress pulls the plug. NC won’t support though it was part of Vajpayee govt. earlier. It needs Congress backing in the state. Plus Abdullahs have become anti Modi. If anyone else leads NDA they could hop.

That leaves us with the curious case of Pawar. He has been giving hints of closeness with Modi and then taking it back . NCP runs a govt. with Congress in Maharashtra. State elections due in Oct. 2014. It wanted to join NDA as per rumours but Shiv Sena vetoed its entry. If Pawar provides outside support now he will have to go out from Maharashtra govt. He would like his ministers to enjoy another 6 months of raj. He will take calls post Maharashtra assembly elections. If NCP-Congress combine loses, then he will give outside support to NDA.

Regional parties want malai, and who ever gives them malai with jalebi they will join. Please see related post on why regional parties should be banned from contesting in national elections.



  1. TRS’ current stand, that they will support UPA or a “Third Front” but never Modi, stems from KCR’s expectation that he will need the MIM’s backing to become Chief Minister of Telangana. MIM will not touch TRS with a ten-foot pole unless KCR rejects the NDA completely. If TRS wins a majority on its own in the Telangana Assembly or can form the government there with BJP support, TRS will join NDA. So the Telangana Assembly results will be the major determinant on whether TRS can back Modi. In Seemandhra, Modi will have to choose between Chandrababu and Jagan; he can’t have both. It’ll boil down to the number of seats each party wins in the LS there.



    1. If TRS wins on own will support NDA (no problem). If TRS needs support and NDA gives it Naidu has nothing to lose by this, then also will support NDA. Only hitch is MIM I agree. 2/3 chances bright. In SA, Jagan wins, can give outside support needs funds, TDP will be in no position to oppose. If he loses then also he may give outside support, CBI reprieve. BJP will tell TDP we cant stop people from providing outside support. Both SP / BSP have been providing outside support to UPA.


    1. Seems 220 is min what NDA led by BJP is getting. They need 272, if strong Modi wave, they might reach there on their own, or may need some allies. Last day of polling tom. Varanasi goes to polls tom.


      1. You will have to tell me if the exit polls line up with the winner. Here in the US , there were elections which didn’t for some reason people gave false information !

        I read this marvelous book on the slums in Mumbai called
        BEHIND THE BEAUTIFUL FOREVERS by Katherine Boo a true story based on 5 years research. The slum dwellers were very excited to vote as they said that on the voting day, they were equal with the wealthy. . . . . each person had only one vote! We know that is very simplistic assessment but very touching. If you are a reader as well as a writer there is another book called
        THE INDIAN SUMMER which is about the partisan process and the four men responsible….great character insight. . Forgot the author….Dutch name I think. If you are interested. I can find it for you ! Big week, coming up !


      2. Sure let me know the author. Almost all exit polls show near / clear majority for Modi. Politicalbaaba estimates 266, 6 short of majority. Polls earlier have gone horribly wrong. So we will have to wait till 16th.


      3. ” Indian Summer” The secret history of the end of an empire.

        By Alex von Tunzelman

        Very interesting insight in to Montbatan, Ghandi, Jiminh, and Nehru. Oh an the horrors of the communial killing. . . . fascinating !


      4. Will AAP be a player? It is hard for me to imagine why people would vote for him when he was unable to govern. . . .His platform is good, who isn’t for the end of corruption. But to me he seems a great campaigner but what would happen to his government?


      5. That is such a sad story. Honestly, I thought if Kejriwal was involved that he would be a good yipping dog at the Modi’s feet with his anti-corruption message. It seems that so many politicians get caught up in the seduction of power. . . .


  2. I think AAP definitely has a future, but only if it limits the influence of Kejriwal. Harsh as this may sound, his theatrics and grandstanding are deflecting from the party’s core message of clean, corruption-free, participative grassroots politics. I expect AAP to do very well in Punjab, winning almost 25% of the vote and 1-2 seats, and that will all be because of strong local leadership and good candidates, not because of Kejriwal’s image or the Delhi experience. If Kejriwal lets local state units chart their own future, AAP will rise in Punjab, Haryana and parts of UP in the next five years. His looming presence may otherwise throttle AAP’s growth. The focus has to be off of him and back onto the “aam aadmi”. In this election, I doubt AAP will cross the 5 seat mark. 1-2 from Punjab, maybe 1-2 from Delhi if they’re lucky and an additional 1-2 from elsewhere, again based on the strength of the individual candidate.

    In the meantime, it seems very likely that Modi and Jayalalithaa have already reached some kind of a post-poll agreement. Notice how she has maintained a studied silence ever since the TN polls were completed. AIADMK spokespersons never appear on national TV debates or make any overtures of support to nascent Third Front or Federal Front proponents, unlike the very vocal Trinamul and BSP leaders (granted, they both still have seats left to poll tomorrow, but their level of vitriol against Modi rules out post-poll support ). Jayalalithaa has not criticized Modi since the elections were completed in her state. If she can become PM with the help of other regional parties, she’ll go for it, otherwise she will support Modi, and may be able to provide all the additional support the pre-poll NDA needs. BJD has also been somewhat noncommittal towards a non-Congress non-BJP formation, but it’s very likely that BJP will emerge as the number two party in Odisha this time, so joining hands with them may not suit Naveen at the state level. I still predict that the pre-poll NDA will be able to form the next government with just one large post-poll ally, probably Jayalalithaa. Tomorrow’s exit polls will provide some indication.



    1. I too agree with the comment Jayalalitha might support NDA provided NDA is close to 240 plus. Infact in one of the channels DMK mentioned that they will not support NDA. There is a reason attributed to this 1) DMK already knows that AIADMK is already in the kitty 2) While during elections Jayalalitha did not attack Modi as Mamta or Mayawati did 3) AIADMK can still win the elections without Minority support.

      AIADMK needs 2 things from MODI a) cases of her to be taken care of b) Provide impetus to TN in terms of POWER infrastructure , investments and she would take the credit for all of this in TN elections. Only difference would be it might be outside support rather than the support from inside since DMDK is directly supporting MODI. Let us see.

      BJD – If BJD cannot form the govt of their own and if BJP come’s 3rd and if they need support from BJD to form the state govt. Definitely BJD would support the NDA govt in center. I have not seen YES or NO categorically from BJD.

      NCP and JAGAN might be another players who can support from outside.


      1. Thanks Anand. BJP would like to avoid taking support from Jaya, she is unpredictable. Smaller parties easier to manage. But that agreed would depend upon the no. Of seats NDA gets. Either Aiadmk of DMk will support.


    2. Personal ambition of Kejriwal has killed aap’s chances in this Lok Sabha. Modi and Jaya are good friends everybody knows. BJP will prefer not to have a strong block instead smaller parties better to manage. But that will depend on the no. Of seats they get. Thanks


  3. Well, BJD today hinted that it might consider providing “conditional support” to NDA. I suspect this support would be more in the nature of strategically timed walk-outs and abstentions rather than overtly voting with the treasury benches. Since he doesn’t face another Assembly election for five years, Naveen Patnaik probably thinks it’s safe to be seen in Modi’s company, even if indirectly, for the time being. However, I don’t think BJD will formally rejoin NDA; the Odisha unit of BJP will not take too kindly to being unable to criticize the BJD government and will want to capitalize on its growth this time to challenge Naveen for the state crown in 2019. Naveen for his part will want to at least be able to claim that he is still secular, to keep his minority vote base intact. So it will be more of of a “wink-and-a-nod” type of an arrangement where BJD will not let Modi be voted out, but will still act like an opposition party during debates and on the campaign trail.

    NCP too sounded today like it would be there for Modi, but they probably won’t have many MPs, anyway.



  4. Neither DMK nor AIADMK,BJD,TRS seems supporting MODI led govt…Chances are bleak of forming Modi to become PM..


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