In India, the two national parties are drawing up their political
strategies, after the conclusion of polling in the country's general
elections. Votes will be counted Saturday. But exit polls show a
divided parliament, with the ruling Congress-led alliance slightly
ahead of the alliance led by the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya
Emerging from consultations with party leaders,
a top official of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Narendra Modi, says he is
confident the alliance led by his party will form the next government
in New Delhi. Modi arrived in the capital a day after polling ended,
to spearhead the hunt for new allies.
Congress Party leaders
appear equally confident that they will lead India's next government.
They huddled for hours at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence to
identify which parties to court to get past the halfway mark in
Local media is alive with reports of who was reaching out to whom.
number of exit polls show the Congress-led alliance getting a slim lead
of between five and 20 seats over the BJP-led alliance.
exit polls show a parliament with neither side anywhere close to the
272 seats needed for a majority. As a result, both alliances will need
to find new partners from a host of regional parties set to bag the
Amitabh Mattoo, a political analyst in New
Delhi, says the exit polls reinforce what many have been forecasting -
a coalition government will come to power, but its final shape is
difficult to determine.
"This is probably one of the closest
contests and the only certainty is that no one party will be in a
position to lead the government on its own and that both will require
support from outside their traditional allies," he said.
analyst Mattoo says that, in the days to come, many regional groups may
gravitate towards the party which is in the best position to form a
government, because none of them - except leftist parties - are driven
by ideological concerns.
"All others really will be
dictated by their interest. So they will negotiate on the basis of
what they can get in terms of better deal, regionally and nationally,"
The political deal-making is set to start in earnest after results are counted, Saturday.