This post is part of the Global Voices special coverage on the Indian Elections 2009
The month long general elections to the 15th Lok Sabha in India start from April 16, and there is wide speculation on which party, or coalition, will emerge the winner, when the results are announced on May 16th.
Here is a quick roundup of the pre-election predictions and the discussion around them in the Indian blogosphere.
According to the second Star-Nielsen poll, the Congress will win 155 seats (203 with UPA allies), while the BJP will win 147 seats (191 with NDA allies) (via TOI).
Arun Nehru at the Deccan Chronicle predicts that the Congress will win 157 seats (193 with UPA allies), compared to the 132 seats for the BJP (177 with NDA allies).
The Times of India predicts that the Congress will win 154 seats (198 with UPA allies), while the BJP will win 135 seats (176 with NDA allies).
According to The Week, the Congress will win 144 seats (198 with UPA allies), while the BJP will have to settle at 140 seats (186 with NDA allies).
India Today expects the UPA to win 196-205 seats, far ahead of the 172-181 seats for the NDA.
According to Reuters, the Congress with 139 seats will form the government, beating the BJP, which will win only 129 seats.
DNA predicts that the Congress-led UPA will win 184 seats, against the 177 seats for the BJP-led NDA.
Shreekant Sambrani at Business Standard predicts that BJP will emerge as the biggest party with 137 seats (184 seats with NDA allies), ahead of the Congress, which will win 119 seats (176 seats with UPA allies, including LJP/ RJD).
India TV also predicts that the BJP will emerge as the largest single party with 144 seats (187 seats with NDA allies), ahead of the Congress, which will win 133 seats (178 seats with UPA allies).
According to BJP's own survey, conducted by G V L Narasimha Rao, the BJP will win 160 seats (217 with NDA allies) compared to 135 seats for the Congress (180 with UPA allies) (via TOI).
The numbers for the UPA have come down in recent predictions as analysts aren't counting the numbers for Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP or Mulayam Singh’s SP as part of the alliance anymore.
Earlier, in March, the Star-Nielsen poll had predicted that Congress will win 144 seats (257 with UPA allies, including 47 for SP/ RJP/ LJP), compared to the 137 seats for the BJP (184 with NDA allies) (via Reuters).
The CNN-IBN poll had predicted that the Congress-led UPA will win 215-235 seats (including SP/ RJP/ LJP), compared to 165-185 seats for the BJP-led NDA (via Reuters).
In 2004, the UPA had won 234 seats (with 145 seats for the Congress) and the NDA had won 184 seats (with 138 seats for the BJP).
The Outlook Blog written by Sandeep Dougal, by the way, has emerged as my single most useful source of news and opinion on the Indian Lok Sabha elections. This is a great example of the value a traditional news organization can add by linking out to others.
Several Indian bloggers are also posting their own predictions.
Vijay at OffStumped, an overtly pro-BJP blog, predicts that NDA will win 184 seats compared to 108 for UPA.
Blogger Arvind Katoch predicts that UPA will win 230-240 seats where NDA can win 180-200 seats.
Promise of Reason is also doing a series of state-wise pre-poll predictions for the Indian elections.
It seems that the consensus opinion is that the Congress will emerge as the largest party with 150-160 seats, while the BJP will win 130-140 seats. In any case, fewer parties will ally with the BJP, and it will need 175+ seats to have a stab at building a majority coalition, so we can safely assume that the Congress will be a part of the coalition government. Most observers are predicting that a Congress-led UPA-Left coalition will form the government.