With the election schedule announced, the focus is now on predictions of which party would register victory. Much of the prediction is done based on previous occurrences. The old patterns repeat. If the future can be on the lines of the past, the predictions come true. Else, it is hard to gauge what would happen in the future.
Going by the past trends in voting behaviour by caste, language, region and other factors, a consensus emerged that BJP will be the largest single party that could win 150-210 seats. However, there are still doubts whether it could form the government. The Grand Alliance of anti-BJP parties, it was predicted, would increase to more than double the current number of seats. The Congress-led Grand Alliance can drag beyond NDA, if the BJP scores low, according to some surveys.
The February 14 bombing in Pulwama and India's retaliation to it after a fortnight, with the IAF pilot being handed over safely to the country is also likely to have influence on the voting pattern. Though the BJP is not openly happy with the brownie points it gained by giving back properly to India's rival, Pakistan, the party seniors feel that the single party majority can be achieved, following the series of defeats it faced during the Assembly elections last year.
Meanwhile, the Grand Alliance (Mahaghatbandhan) is keen on downplaying the BJP's role in the Pulwama attack and give credit only to the Army. The Opposition thinks it has lost a best chance to defeat Modi after the Pulwama attack while the BJP is secretly happy that 'real' issues could be forgotten and victory guaranteed like a missile shot from an aircraft.
However, there is no certainty that the BJP would benefit from the retaliation to the attack. Modi also wants the public to understand how much he had done to them with regard to the Indian economy. He wants them to know that so much more needs to be done, despite his hard work in the last five years. The Grand Alliance, aims to highlight that Modi delivered very less, in comparison to what he had promised.
The Pulwama skirmish has been very short, leaving both sides with a feeling of happiness that they had won the game. Meanwhile, there are chances of the terrorist group to cause more devastation in the future in a pre-meditated way. If that happens during the election process, the BJP will have a very tough time. On the other hand, the Grand Opposition is also of the opinion that it cannot exert influence at a time when there is hardly any time for it to campaign, without announcing a "PM" face as they do not want Rahul Gandhi as their candidate.
While they are aware of their bleak chances of a 1977-like situation, the anti-BJP parties which are more socialist in nature want a "weak Congress" as it is not the ideology that binds them together but a common enemy at the Centre. Going by this and the positive approval ratings of Modi after Balakot, they surely know they hardly have chances to sustain against a high-voltage BJP campaign with a strong face like Modi as the PM.