In this round of the My Nation-Jan ki Baat poll, 65% of the respondents have expressed a disapproval for the Mahagathbandhan. The BJP will face a significant challenge in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, with 50% believing that the Mahagathbandhan will give a tough fight to the BJP In Uttar Pradesh.

Rahul Gandhi emerges as the most likely contender for leadership of this Mahagathbandhan. Mayawati is a close second while Mamata Banerjee ranks third among the supporters of the proposed grand alliance.

Individuals who feel the Mahagathbandhan can oust Modi are 3% less than those who believe the idea of this alliance will make Modi stronger.

About 70% say that the common force binding the alliance is the anti-Modi sentiment, with a majority offering the Congress a pivotal role.


Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will prove significant challenging turfs for BJP

These States make 120 seats in the Lok Sabha. The BJP had peaked in Uttar Pradesh with 71/80, and in Bihar with 22/40 seats in 2014. In both these States, 50% of the people feel Mahagathbandhan will significantly challenge PM Modi, even though a majority (60%) feel that it will not last for those 5 years.

The SP and BSP, despite being weak, singular forces, can be a strong, combined unit, the political observers in Uttar Pradesh feel.

The Congress is a marginal player as is evident with mere 30% believing that it can play a pivotal role.

Akhilesh Yadav emerges as the most popular leader in the Mahagathbandhan, with 45% supporters, followed by Mayawati with 30% supporters in Uttar Pradesh’s heartland. When it comes to the economy, supporters have expressed doubt regarding the Mahagathbandhan taking the country forward (10% feel they can take the country's economy forward), and 65% forming a majority feel the biggest plank of unity is: ‘Stop Modi’.

MP, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh: Mahagathbandhan weak

These are States where the BJP will be fighting as an incumbent in the upcoming Assembly elections. Leaving the State battle aside, with local factors at work in all these States, the approval rating for the Mahagathbandhan is less than 40% on an average, and only 25% respondents feel that the alliance can survive for five years.

That the Congress will be the anchor in the alliance is a widespread belief across the States. More than 78% of the people feel the Mahagathbandhan is an ‘anti-Modi’ alliance that lacks an alternative agenda for the economy and the country. This is important in view of even the Assembly battles in the coming months.

South: Neither BJP nor Mahagathbandhan rules

About 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka are extremely crucial for the Mahagathbandhan. The BJP won 17 of these in its last outing. In the recently concluded Assembly elections, even though the BJP emerged as the single largest party, JD(S)-Congress could add the numbers to form the government. On the one hand, this alliance could increase the sympathy factor on ground zero favouring the BJP. On the other, a divorce in this arranged marriage would make the idea of Mahagathbandhan a sell-by-date proposition.

In 25% Christian, 25% Muslim-dominated Kerala, two dominant players, the CPI(M) and Congress are. There is less likelihood of an alliance in this State. The BJP having a marginal impact in a few seats makes this a State that will witness no upset in 2019.

Bengal and Tripura: Two different, yet similar templates

Bengal is a stronghold of the TMC, which won 90% of the seats in the last Lok Sabha polls. The BJP was an insignificant entity with just 2/42 seats in its kitty. However, post-2014, things have changed. The BJP has been able to get four workers each on an average in 65% of the booths.

The BJP has replaced the Left as the principal opposition party in Bengal. The party won 33% of the gram panchayat seats with many left uncontested amidst violence. Despite this, the BJP is a distant second and the TMC has a vote share of 44%, which is 25% more than the BJP.

However, there is a real possibility that the vote-share of the Left and the Congress will diminish in the State while heading to the polls of 2019.  About 39% have shown their complete willingness to accept the Mahagathbandhan, though 95% of these supporters want Mamata Banerjee as the likely prime ministerial contender to take on Prime Minister Modi.

The lack of an alternative economic agenda (70% expressed speculation over progress in the Indian economy under Mahagathbandhan), no confidence in the completion of 5 years (78% feel that it will not last for 5 years), will make the dominant TMC in Bengal face real challenge from the BJP in 2019.

Tripura and other north-eastern States can be a smooth walk for BJP, with the Mahagathbandhan possibly being a paper force, and not a solid ground force in 2019. Even though Congress has some presence in Assam, the current position points at ‘Advantage BJP’ in the Northeast (for example in Tripura - 10% feel the alliance will last for 5 years, 10% feel it can take the country forward, and only 10% think it can oust Modi).

No surprises in Punjab, Delhi and Haryana

Even though there is possibility of seat reduction for BJP in these States, excitement for Mahagathbandhan is near to absent. Congress will be the principal force taking on BJP, except in Delhi where AAP can play a decisive role. The other players of Mahagathbandhan will play "12th man" (as in cricket) to the Congress team fighting the BJP. On an average, 46% favour a Mahagathbandhan in these States, 26% think it will survive those 5 years, and more than 80% believe that “Anti-Modi” plank unites the grand alliance. This also gives PM Narendra Modi enough space to build an aggressive offensive campaign narrative by being the central force yet again in 2019, like 2014.

Elections 2019 might be different in form vis-a-vis 2014. But an unquestionable, principal similarity that stands out is this fact: It will be Modi's fight like it was in 2014. Earlier, it was Modi Vs Some. Now, it's Modi Vs All.

In a nutshell, there are two types of seats - 334 seats where BJP can face a deficit having peaked in 2014, and 209 seats where BJP can expand having won just 14% of these seats. The net effect of the deficit and gain will determine the fate of BJP and Mahagathbandhan. Let's face it. A large national narrative is being built on either side.