‘Many parties will be reluctant to back a Modi-led government’

Price rise, unemployment and livelihood issues are the major factors that weigh on the minds of people during elections, N. Ram, Chairman, Kasturi & Sons Limited, said on Sunday.

All polls and surveys indicated that these issues were important for the people, though corruption was a big campaign issue, he said, delivering a talk on the political situation, at the 12th anniversary of Tiruchi Arivalar Peravai here. Unlike the general elections of 1977, 1980 and 1984, there was no wave nationwide this time, despite the ‘Modi’ effect, he said. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s nomination as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate had energised the party, but he could not attract allies as the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, did. Many parties would be reluctant to support a Modi-led government.

The number of NDA constituents, which was 13 in 1998, had declined over the years; the BJP was now left with just the Shiv Sena and the Akali Dal. This would pose a problem as the chances of the BJP and its allies in 250 Lok Sabha seats were zero. “Half the pitch is out of bounds for the BJP and its allies. However, by all indications, the BJP will emerge as the single largest party in Parliament,” he said.

The stock of the Congress, rocked by a series of scams, had also declined steeply. The spirit of the times today was that the big parties had been put in their place and powerful regional parties were resisting the temptation of aligning with them, Mr. Ram said.

If the Congress and the BJP failed to get even half of the Lok Sabha seats, it would lead to an unusual situation, wherein non-BJP and non-Congress parties could come together, he added.

Economist Venkatesh B. Athreya said reforms introduced in 1991 had helped neither the agricultural sector nor the manufacturing sector.

It had helped only a small segment of corporates, big real estate firms, a section of the political leadership and the bureaucracy. Prices of all commodities had increased and the employment rate had slowed down in the past 20 years.

The economic situation was quite serious today, he said, calling for restoration of some balance in India’s economic policy.

G. Renganathan, president, Tiruchi Arivalar Peravai, handed over to Mr. Ram an album of clippings of news items published by The Hindu.