The Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP), which arrived at power in 2014 with a majority on its own, would fall short of the magic number, if elections were conducted today, shows the India Today-Karvy Insights Mood of the Nation (MOTN) Survey.
The MOTN survey, released on Saturday, 18 August, continues to peg Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the most favourable prime ministerial candidate, with 49 percent polling for the incumbent leader, as against Rahul Gandhi, who is favoured by 27% of the respondents.
However, the Congress-led UPA+ has made sufficient gains in terms of vote share, although it continues to trail in seat share.
The survey, conducted seven months ahead of the scheduled general assembly elections, takes into account three possible scenarios.
Scenario 1: UPA and NDA as in 2014
In scenario 1, the allies under both the coalitions remain the same as they were in 2014, without any new equations coming into play.
Here, the UPA, sans its major allies of BSP, SP and TMC, is predicted to get 122 seats, as against the NDA’s mammoth 281 seats. Others get 140 seats.
As far as vote share is concerned, the UPA is pegged at 31 percent, while the NDA is at 36 percent and the others at 33 percent.
Scenario 2: UPA Allies with BSP, SP and TMC
Playing big on its pre-poll alliance under this scenario, the UPA is predicted to do much better, garnering close to 224 seats, trailing behind the NDA by hardly four seats. Others get 91 seats.
As far as vote share is concerned, the UPA is at 41 percent, far ahead of the NDA which is at 36 percent, while others are expected to get 23 percent.
The survey pegs the reason behind the UPA alliance getting lesser seats despite a far higher vote share to the fact that the BJP vote base is concentrated at specific regions like the north, west and the north-west.
Scenario 3: NDA and its Southern Allies
In this scenario, the NDA placates its new alliance partners in the south - AIADMK in Tamil Nadu and the YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh.
With those allies in tow, the NDA+ is likely to garner 255 seats, while the UPA is expected to get 242 seats.
However, if TRS and BJD join the NDA in a post-poll alliance, the number could spike up to 282 seats, delivering a massive blow to the UPA.
In all scenarios, the NDA alliance is ahead of the UPA as far as seat share is concerned.
The survey further predicts that to up its chances in the final contest, the Congress will have to win in two of three upcoming state elections - Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
Choosing An Alternative to Narendra Modi
Among the Opposition leaders, Congress president Rahul Gandhi was backed by a stellar 46% of respondents, followed by TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee who was received positively by 8% people as an alternative to Modi. Six percent of those part of the survey said that former finance minister P Chidambaram and Rahul's sister Priyanka could also be a good challenger to Modi.
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