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India Polls May Lead to Fractured Verdict, Singh Says

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Jaswant Singh, former Indian foreign and finance minister, said general elections in April and May could result in a fractured verdict, with neither of the two main parties able to form a government.
“I apprehend there will be a situation in which there will be an absence of a decisive vote,” Singh, a member of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, said in a Bloomberg Television interview today.
The ruling Congress party and the BJP are seeking to retain their allies and find new partners to win enough seats to form the next government. Since 1989, the two main contestants haven’t won enough seats to rule without parliamentary support from smaller parties.
“Inevitably, there will be a problem in governance” if either of the two alliances led by the Congress party and the BJP don’t come to power, Singh said.
The ruling United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, is led by the Congress party and is competing for votes with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, or NDA.
“We are now in the political era of coalitions,” Singh said. These “will have to be an aggregate of views, opinion and policies” of the constituent political parties.
The so-called third front, set up by some of the parties that aren’t included in the two main alliances, has an ideology oriented toward communism that doesn’t offer solutions for India’s problems, the former minister said.
Third Front
The third-front group “lacks conviction, it lacks shape, of course it lacks a policy platform,” Singh said in the interview. “I don’t think the answers to the country are leftwards from where it is today.”
The third alliance is seeking to repeat the performance of the United Front, which ran the government from 1996 to 1998, after neither of the two main parties could cobble together enough parliamentary seats for a majority. A similar alliance had come to power in 1989, with neither of them surviving the full five-year term.
Singh said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s United Progressive Alliance government has abandoned the economic policies and reforms initiated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. The United Progressive Alliance came to power in May 2004, defeating the National Democratic Alliance.
The National Democratic Alliance has addressed issues related to politics, security and economy in its “agenda of governance,” which will be unveiled in the next few days, Singh said. The NDA will tackle such issues if it returns to office.
Elections for 543 parliamentary constituencies across the world’s biggest democracy will be held in five phases from April 16 to May 13. Counting of votes will take place in all constituencies on May 16.


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