Santosh Kumar Pathak
New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) The BJP is in talks with several regional parties which are willing to join the NDA and a positive outcome is likely to emerge in the coming days, a senior party leader has said.
The senior BJP leader told IANS that the talks, right now, are at a very early stage. Besides, some regional parties have themselves approached the BJP high command to join the NDA. About them, the party leadership has sought feedback from the state units and a final call will be taken after discussing it within the party, he added.
Another senior leader, who is among the party in-charges for the election campaign, claimed that it wouldn’t be surprising if the number of parties in the NDA reaches 50 ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
As many as 25 years have passed since the beginning of a new era of coalition politics in the country under the banner of the NDA.
On completion of 25 years of the NDA’s journey, a crucial meeting of the constituent parties was organised at the Ashok Hotel in Delhi on July 18 under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The 39 constituents of the NDA who attended this meeting, unanimously passed a resolution to contest the 2024 Lok Sabha polls under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi and make him the PM for the third time.
The BJP also issued a statement regarding the meeting, claiming that it was attended by 39 NDA constituent parties.
Though the meeting was attended by 39 parties, the total number of allies is estimated at around 42 – considering the number of parties supporting the NDA governments in the states.
Despite having an alliance with over one and a half times more parties than the Opposition camp, the BJP is still campaigning to add more parties to the NDA in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.
Leaders of all the Opposition parties, including the Congress, are claiming that the BJP called the NDA meeting in the wake of the Opposition unity. However, BJP leaders say that the party has proved its strength by defeating the Akhilesh Yadav-Rahul Gandhi (SP-Congress) and Akhilesh-Mayawati (SP-BSP) alliances in Uttar Pradesh by a “huge margin”.
The saffron party leaders claim the Opposition alliance is not going to affect the BJP’s electoral health as the party had started working on the strategy of getting 50 per cent votes in every election many years ago.
The BJP has created a record of getting votes close to or above 50 per cent in several other states, including Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP is trying to add even those parties to the NDA that have the support of even a small number of voters so that these small groups of voters can be mobilised and more than 50 per cent votes can be attained in all constituencies so that the Opposition’s strategy to field a joint candidate can be challenged.
In Uttar Pradesh, the BJP, along with Apna Dal (S), Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party and the Nishad Party, is trying to mend the socio-political equation of the state. If sources are to be believed, the Mahan Dal can also align with the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. In Bihar, by taking along the Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party, Hindustani Awam Morcha, Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal (RLJD) and Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), the BJP wants to reach the magic figure of 50 per cent votes to demolish the Nitish-Lalu equation of social justice.
Similarly, despite support from Eknath Shinde and Ajit Pawar in Maharashtra, the BJP has joined hands with the Republican Party of India (A), which has a mass base in small parts of the state, and has made its president Ramdas Athawale a minister at the Centre. Besides this, the saffron party has also forged alliances with parties like the Prahar Janshakti Party, Rashtriya Samaj Paksha and Jan Surajya Shakti in Maharashtra.
In fact, in the states where the party is strong, it wants to win all the seats in the Lok Sabha elections by securing more than 50 per cent votes with the help of these small parties.
On the other hand, in states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it wants to increase its mass base by opening its account. The party also wants to win the maximum seats in Assam and Tripura in the Northeast, while with the help of constituents it wants to prevent the Opposition parties from winning elections in other states.
This is the reason why the BJP re-inducted leaders like Jitan Ram Manjhi, Upendra Kushwaha and Om Prakash Rajbhar, who left the NDA alliance in the past. It also roped in staunch adversary Ajit Pawar in Maharashtra, kept a party like the AIADMK together despite constant political rhetoric and infighting, and even kept its doors open for the hitherto dysfunctional Akali Dal, TDP, and JD-U.