Indian Voters Unlikely to Elect Majority Government, Survey Says

Neither of India’s main alliances would win more than 30 percent of seats in parliament in a ballot held now, according to an opinion poll, signaling a role for disparate regional parties in forming the next government.

The largest single party in parliament after an election may for the first time in the nation’s history control fewer than one-fourth of the 545 seats in the lower chamber, the survey by the Times Now television channel and C-Voter polling agency published today found. A vote is due by May next year.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s ruling coalition may win 136 seats, with the main Congress party getting 119, a drop of 87 seats from the previous poll in 2009. The opposition alliance could get 156 seats, with the Bharatiya Janata Party that leads it securing 131, 15 seats more than the last ballot, the survey said. Singh’s second term has been dogged by corruption allegations leveled against ministers.

A hung parliament could complicate efforts to revive an economy growing at its weakest pace in a decade and push suspended policy initiatives. In a bid to boost their popularity, the two main alliances have appointed new campaign managers. Congress has fallen back on the Gandhi family that has dominated Indian politics since the end of British colonial rule, naming dynasty scion Rahul Gandhi to lead its charge. The BJP has put its faith in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, a decision that cost it a key ally.

A grouping of regional parties including communists, the Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party and Biju Janata Dal would get 129 seats, according to the survey. Another bloc of local parties -- the Bahujan Samaj Party, Trinamool Congress and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam -- may win 122 seats, it said.

Another survey released at the weekend by the CNN-IBN television channel, Hindu newspaper and the Center for the Study of Developing Societies predicted a similar outcome. The Congress party’s alliance could win as many as 153 seats, it forecast, with the opposition bloc securing 180.

The Times Now/C-Voter survey was conducted July 18-24 with a sample size of 13,052 respondents. It didn’t give a margin of error.

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