The Capital’s political grapevine is abuzz with possible scenarios after the election results on May 23. Some like TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu are already active. The Congress camp believes that if the party crosses 125 and the BJPgets less than 200 seats, the BJP cannot stake claim to form government. The Congress, as the largest party in the anti-BJP coalition, will take the lead in spearheading a mahagathbandhan government with Rahul Gandhi as potential prime minister. If the Congress gets less than 100 seats, then regional party leaders will stake their claim to head an anti-BJP coalition. However, if the BJP wins more than 230 seats, it will be on the threshold of government formation. With the numbers from the three major NDA allies, the JD(U), Shiv Sena and Akali Dal (the AIADMK may not count for much) and potential backers such as Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress, Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal, Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi and some Independents, it could reach the half-way mark of 272 fairly comfortably.

But what happens if the BJP gets somewhere between 200 and 220 seats? Some believe that the BJP could still hope to get support from other political parties if it agreed to replace Narendra Modi and settle for a more pragmatic and conciliatory leader, such as Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh or Devendra Fadnavis. The BJP brains trust dismisses such talk as nonsensical kite-flying. Whatever the strength of the BJP, it will be entirely due to Modi and no replacement for him is possible. In any case, Modi and Amit Shah have ensured that the majority of the BJP candidates owe loyalty to them. The BJP is convinced that the NDA will cross the half-way mark on its own. In this election, Modi has completely overshadowed his party. Supporters seldom mention the BJP, they simply say they are voting for Modi.