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   In the old days, when elections were held... (February 16, 1990)

In the old days, when elections were held, knowledgeable people would forecast for you, who would win. These days they forecast who will join who to form a government.

I will at the press club bar, talking to the distinguished political correspondent, commentator and analust. I ordered a vodka with tomato juice for him, a vodka with orange juice for myself, and asked him: “Who do you think will win the assembly elections?”

The distinguished correspondent swallowed his drink, then said: “Indications are that it will be a hung assembly, with the Shiv Sena BJP alliance combing with the RPI, Kamble Group, but minus the Shetkari Sangathana, which will be with the PDF, to form the government, though the Congress-I will be the largest party in the house.”

“Then the Sean is winning, Jai Maharastra,” I said, ordering a gin and lime juice for him, a gin and lemon cordial for myself.

“The alignments will have to be worked out,” the veteran analyst said, finishing his drink in two-and-a-half gulps. “The Congress-I, though it will not get an absolute majority, may try to retain the government by combing with the RPI, Ambedkar Faction, with critical support from Kamgar Aghadi, in spite of the BJP-Shiv Sena group being the largest en block alliance in the house, with the Janata Dal and its associates keeping out, with two Independents and one Muslim League candidate joining them on the opposition benches.”

“Then, after all this hassle, the Congress-I is finally going to win. Bravo,” I said, ordering a rum and pineapple juice for him, a rum and apple cider for myself.

“Provided the hard facts of political actualities are taken into account,” the veteran commentator said, finishing his drink in one long draw. “The Janata Dal, as the senior partner of the PDF, given a hung house, and in spite of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance being the biggest group in the house, could stake its claim for the government with leftist support, from the inside by the CPI, and outside by the CPM, plus selective support on issues by the Shetkari Singh, though for this a secret understanding with the Maharastra Indira Congress will be necessary.”

“Then it will be Janata Dal at the centre and Janata Dal in the state. Good,” I said, ordering a brandy, honey and hot toddy for him, a brandy and Duke’s ginger for myself.

The distinguished political correspondent studied his drink, emplited his glass with great satisfaction, then said: “According to my calculations, there will be three flags flying over Mantralaya.”

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