Congress has ‘fair chance’ to form government: Fitch
February 22 2019 11:32 PM
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Bloomberg/IANS New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will “struggle” to win a simple majority in the upcoming general election and the opposition Congress party has a “fair chance” at forming government with support from regional allies, according to Fitch Solutions Macro Research.
Neither of the country’s main national parties is likely to get a majority in the lower house of the parliament, the affiliate of Fitch Ratings said. That means both will have to try and cobble together a coalition with regional parties at a time when the ruling BJP has disagreements with many large “potential kingmaker parties,” Fitch Solutions said.
“We at Fitch Solutions are bucking the overwhelming consensus at this juncture that the BJP will most likely form the next government after the upcoming elections,” Fitch said in a report. The Congress party, headed by Rahul Gandhi, has a fair chance of marshalling a coalition government, it added.
The BJP’s recent populist spending efforts, including a farmer income support programme, will have a “minimal effect” on swinging voters to its side, the group said, adding that the Kashmir attack allows the ruling party to “drum up nationalistic sentiment and to rally the electorate behind the BJP.” 
The BJP lost three state elections to the Congress in December and various polls have shown declining support for PM Modi and BJP. For example, a recent India Today poll predicted the ruling National Democratic Alliance coalition could fall short of the majority mark in the 543-seat parliament and win 237 seats, down from the 336 seats the grouping won in the 2014 election.
Meanwhile, a meeting of opposition leaders to discuss a common minimum programme (CMP) has been postponed from February 26 to February 27, informed sources said yesterday. The meeting will be held at Parliament Annexe at 1pm.
The date change was made to ensure the availability of all the opposition leaders. 
On February 13, the leaders met and decided to have a pre-poll pact and a common agenda to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Lok Sabha elections.
At the February 27 meeting, Rahul will present a copy of the CMP to the other opposition leaders.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and Rahul Gandhi attended the February 13 meeting at Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar’s residence in New Delhi.

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