Amid growing discontent among partners of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday reached out to its allies in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with the promise of better coordination and a mechanism to address their concerns, party officials said.
The party suffered a jolt in the by-election for Gorakhpur and Phulpur Lok Sabha seats earlier this month, even as Andhra Pradesh-based Telugu Desam Party decided to quit the NDA government and the alliance over its demand for special category status to Andhra. The Shiv Sena has already announced that it will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election on its own.
A BJP leader said Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav met Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan in the Parliament on Monday, two days day after his outfit suggested that the ruling combine needed to mend its image among certain sections of society. Paswan’s parliamentarian son Chirag had said on Friday that the BJP losing a string of elections was a matter of concern and not a good sign for 2019. “There should be regular meetings of NDA allies to take stock of politician situation,” he had added.
The two BJP leaders assured Paswan that NDA allies will meet more often going forward and the concerns of the allies will be taken care of, a BJP leader said.
“Paswan is a senior leader of the alliance and if he has flagged some issues, we are trying to look into them and sort them out,” a second BJP leader said. A mechanism, he said, will be developed to sort out the concerns of its allies.
Hours later, Paswan dismissed as “unthinkable” the suggestions that he might quit the NDA ahead of next year’s parliamentary election.
“The NDA is not in any difficulty. I had earlier said that there is no vacancy for the prime minister’s post in 2019. Narendra Modi is and will remain the prime minister…” he said at a press conference.
Later in the evening, BJP chief Amit Shah met Uttar Pradesh-based Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party’s president Om Prakash Rajbhar, who had a list of demands for the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government.
Rajbhar, a minister in UP government, had skipped the celebration to mark the first anniversary of the Yogi government on Sunday.
He had also threatened that four MLAs of his would boycott the upcoming Rajya Sabha election in case “big brother” BJP does not redress its problems.
The BJP has fielded nine candidates for the Rajya Sabha election but it has the numbers to secure a clear victory in only eight seats.
“The BJP president listened to the issues I had raised and assured that they will sort them out. I am hopeful that it will help in better functioning of the NDA and the state government,” Rajbhar said after the meeting.
The BJP’s media cell chief Anil Baluni confirmed the meeting and said “he (Rajbhar) remains with us’.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times