The two most likely scenarios for the next government is a 'third front' government supported by the congress (quite like what we've seen in Delhi now) or, a government led by the BJP-.
It is easy to see that in the first scenario the numbers will come from a large number of parties getting together to create an alternative to Modi & the BJP. The nucleus of which this time around could be AAP.
So far, the third front has been successful in forming the government twice with Jai Prakash Narayan and VP Singh being the nucleuses for the formation with BJP support. And the third time with Stop BJP being the necules of the formation with Congress support.
This time the formation is likely to be a combination of the first two and the third kind. With Arvind Kejriwal (AAP) and Anti Modi- Anti BJP sentiments forming its dual nucleuses.
The idea is likely to be propped up by a constituency of permanent haters of Modi and the BJP. Who would also be most vocal in their support of AAP and the third front endeavor.
But as before, the conflicts and contradictions of such a formation are likely to do them in even if they are successful at forming a government. Presenting BJP with a second opportunity soon.
Unlike this motley crowd of the third front that can draw its numbers from virtually anywhere, the BJP will have to pull most of the weight itself to get a chance to lead a government at the center.
The rise of AAP and Arvind Kejriwal is likely to have two possible outcomes.
1. It will hasten the process of reforms / remaking of the political parties, if it succeeds, or
2. Damage the cause of emergence of new political alternatives, at least for sometime, if it fails.
The rise of AAP is likely to invite a response from political parties to reform-remake their organisations and agenda, most of which will be just for face value. That is likely to make some but not a significant change to their prospect in the coming elections. In any case most of them are not too worried about their prospects. Having taken refuge in the idea of being part of a 'third front', any number would be good enough for them.
The BJP on the other hand has a tougher task since it has to pull most of the weight on its own. So it must undertake a more sincere effort to better itself to meet the challenge.
The rise of AAP presents a very interesting opportunity to Modi & co. It gives them more leverage to rid the BJP of the dead weight and stagnant thinking. This they must seize.
But also, Modi is doing what is the correct thing to do. He is painting on a much bigger canvas.
While Arvind Kejriwal & co seek to tap into the frustrations & restlessness of the growing number of young people, essentially a cynical plank, Modi has the more positive and bigger agenda.
While Arvind Kejriwal & co. talk mostly about ridding India of its corruption, Modi talks about at least three big things -
1. New and better opportunities for all
2. A government that works, and
3. A secure India
Modi has both the advantage of a track record of good performance and the better political philosophy that is based on maximising individual potential.
These are the thing that must be articulated - the mostest and in the bestest way possible. It is the better option than cobbling up a collation by compromise.
The large and rising youth population presents a great opportunity for the BJP to take a big leap forward in growing its support base. It must use the opportunity of rising young & aspiring population to bring in more people to its thinking of self reliance and realisation of the best potential of every individual.
Also AAP seems to have gained mostly on highlighting local issues that may not be of much consequence elsewhere. In Pune for example where I live water shortage and high electricity bills are not really the concerns that are agitating people here the most. Lack of opportunities, a broken education system, rising prices are what bother people more here.
Even if the BJP loses its chance in 2014, it is mostly likely to get a second chance soon (maybe in 2016). To make the most of its chances both now and if it so happens next in 2016, it must persist with reaching out to the most number of people with a better and better articulation of its core values.
In the end, politics is about a fight for ideas and BJP can take solace from the fact that it has had very significant influence on the political discourse and direction of government policy over the last two decades.
There will also be many state elections that will come-up post 2014 general elections, if the BJP can regain some of the states where it is strong and make inroads into new ones, it stands a chance to make great contributions to India. After all, most Indian states are as big or bigger than many countries of the world. Even if 5-10 states are run well and set good examples for the rest, it'd make a significant difference to India's progress.