September 21, 2018

Discontent on the rise, more may quit NDA

New Delhi: Pulling the plug on the People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir might have given the BJP a chance to consolidate its core votebanks in Jammu and Ladakh but the NDA’s house seems somewhat shaken with its allies either walking out or posturing to do so.

At a time when the threat of an united Opposition looms large over the BJP, the party seems to be struggling to put its house in order. Saffron strategists feel that while it will be “extremely tough” to maintain the party’s 2014 Lok Sabha tally, it needs to offer a “healing touch” to its existing allies to keep them within the NDA fold.

While N. Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP walked out in a huff a few months ago, the PDP is the latest casualty. For quite some time, its crucial Bihar ally JD(U) has been making things quite uncomfortable for the BJP. That things are not going well between them became evident when the JD(U) announced it would put up candidates against the BJP in the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand. The state has 14 Lok Sabha and 81 Assembly seats. The argument, of course, is that the “alliance is only limited to Bihar”.

While the BJP had been opposing AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s dharna in Delhi, the JD(U) came out openly to extend support. JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar recently told the media in Patna that there would be “no compromise on crime, corruption and communalism”.

In the recent meeting of chief ministers at the Niti Aayog, Mr Kumar not just supported TDP leader N. Chandrababu Naidu’s demand for “special status” for Andhra Pradesh, but also sought the same for Bihar. A majority of JD(U) leaders feel “it was a bad decision to go with the NDA”. The unrest is not merely confined to the JD(U) and the Shiv Sena earlier. The leader of the RSLP in Bihar, Union minister Upendra Kushwaha, has been miffed at the non-inclusion of allies while taking crucial policy decisions.

Another ally, the O.P. Rajbhar-led Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh, has been accusing the BJP of not following coalition dharma. Mr Rajbhar, who is a part of UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s government, has on many occasions criticised the UP government on various issues.

The BJP’s ally in Kerala, the BDJS, has also been seething over state-specific issues.

Sources in the BJP said while things with the Akali Dal seemed normal at this juncture, the alliance might remain intact only till Parkash Singh Badal is in control.

There are whispers in saffron corridors that BJP chief Amit Shah’s mission to reach out to allies “seems to have had little impact so far”. While Mr Shah is focusing on increasing the party’s organisational strength, BJP poll managers are wary of discontentment growing among the allies, which they feel could create problems after the 2019 general election.

Courtesy: THE ASIAN AGE

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