Is lack of allies in NDA worrying BJP in run-up to 2024 general election? : The Tribune India


Is lack of allies in NDA worrying BJP in run-up to 2024 general election?

A powerful BJP, an almost redundant NDA, now saffron leadership appears to be focusing on ‘regional aspirations’ and building/ reviving relations

Is lack of allies in NDA worrying BJP in run-up to 2024 general election?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP National President JP Nadda during the BJP National Executive meeting. PTI File

Tribune Web Desk

Vibha Sharma

Chandigarh, June 2

Interacting with chief ministers and deputy CMs of BJP-led states recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is said to have asked them to work towards allaying perceptions that the BJP was not accommodating towards regional parties. “The BJP has been more focused on regional aspirations, therefore there should not be a perception that it is not comfortable with regional parties. They need to be conveyed that the BJP is more concerned about regional sentiments,” media reports quoted him as saying.

Basically it meant dispelling the “expansionist/don’t-care-about allies” perceptions and that the current leadership believed in growth at the cost (breaking) of regional allies/parties.

Significantly, the PM’s remarks came on the day when the majority of big names in the opposition camp skipped the high-profile event marking the inauguration of the new Parliament building. Those who attended the event included regional parties like Shiromani Akali Dal, YSRCP, JDS, BJD, BSP and TDP.

BJP working on building, reviving relations?

The buzz is that the ruling BJP is working on building new relationships and reviving some old connections.

Apparently PM Modi also said that the 25-year celebration to mark the formation of the NDA should be in a big way. “No alliance has been intact for such a long time. Therefore, the party should celebrate the occasion with other alliance partners,” he said.

The National Democratic Alliance was formed in 1998.

After the loss in Karnataka, the BJP holds power in around 10 states. In addition, it is also sharing power in four states. The list includes major as well as smaller states.

While Karnataka defeat impacted BJP’s southern plans, in terms of landmass and population, opposition/regional parties seem to be placed better as of now, a reason why the saffron leadership appears to be working on public relations with allies/regional parties.

The buzz from Maharashtra is that in one of the party meetings, Home Minister Amit Shah openly discouraged talk about happenings in both EknathShinde and Uddhav Thackeray factions of the Shiv Sena. Perhaps the aim was to convey the message that the affairs of other parties are their internal matters.

Diminishing NDA

A fact ahead of the 2024 general elections also is that apart from some small parties in the northeast and smattering of local regional groupings in other parts of India, the only major ally that the BJP has from 2019 Lok Sabha elections is the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in Tamil Nadu.

Most of its other major allies, like Uddhav Thackeray’s Shiv Sena faction, Nitish Kumar’s JD-U and Akali Dal, have parted ways with it. Though technically the Shiv Sena continues to be a part of the NDA, the Shinde faction is an untested entity.

In 2014, when the BJP swept to power, it had the support of around 28 parties.

The BJP won a staggering 282 seats and its “oldest” ally Shiv Sena won a sizable 18 seats in partnership in Maharashtra. The Akali Dal contributed four seats to the NDA kitty in Punjab.

N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP, which rejoined the NDA, won 16 seats andLok Janshakti Party under Ram Vilas Paswan won six seats. The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, about which was not much known outside Bihar, won three seats. Small allies like Apna Dal, Naga People's Front, National People's Party, Pattali Makkal Katchi, also contributed in theirown way.

Powerful BJP, redundant NDA

However, since then the NDA has shrunk considerably.

Observers say the rising power of the BJP in the past nine years overshadowed the NDA concept, almost rendering it redundant. With BJP attaining Lok Sabha numbers much higher than the absolute majority needed to form the government, it left the allies insecure and prospective partners wary.

Now that efforts are underway in Opposition ranks to stitch an alliance for 2024, the BJP too appears to be trying to resuscitate the NDA, woo allies that left it and add new faces.

The NDA does not have support of the full Shiv Sena as the Uddhav Thackeray-led faction is with the Congress and NCP in Maharashtra. Just like Shiv Sena became undone in Maharashtra with the help ofthe BJP, so did Ram Vilas Paswan's party LJP in Bihar after his death.

And just like the Shinde faction in Maharashtra, NDA's LJP faction in Bihar too is untested.

#BJP #narendra modi

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