BJP’s path seems to be getting easier in the elections due to the complications of India alliance.

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India alliance seems to be continuously weakening, whereas with the news of new parties joining the National Democratic Alliance-NDA, which is in power at the Centre, the path to victory with its bigger goal is becoming easier. Bharatiya Janata Party along with its allies has set a target of winning 400 seats in the Lok Sabha elections. While BJP is reuniting with its old allies to reach this big goal, the party is also focusing on bringing leaders of other parties into its fold and is achieving great success in this. The alliance with BJD in Odisha and TDP in Andhra is considered confirmed. Tripura’s main opposition party Tipra Motha has also now joined the BJP government. BJP is engaged in the strategy of setting the electoral equation from East to West and North to South and including various parties in NDA. BJP has not yet announced the names of its candidates in many provinces, so that the doors remain open for other parties to join the NDA and set the equation of seats with them. Certainly, this strengthening position of BJP cannot be called a good news for the unity of the opposition because the India alliance is considered to be an alliance of various strong regional parties in which Congress is the only national party. Apart from Samajwadi Party and Aam Aadmi Party, other regional parties do not have that much strength, or many strong parties have joined the NDA or they have taken away the breath of India alliance by announcing to contest independent elections. The political scenario created by these new alliances is a cause of concern for the India alliance.

The Lok Sabha elections of 2024 will be historic. There are possibilities that BJP is active with the aim of ensuring a landslide and historic victory. Narendra Modi wants the results of these elections to achieve his target of 400 seats. Therefore, BJP is engaged in manipulation to include various parties in NDA. A round of electoral alliances is going on for this election. Political parties are discussing electoral alliances and seat sharing. On one side, regional parties are being included in the NDA alliance under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while on the other side stands the India alliance. India alliance led by Congress has also talked about seat sharing with its allies in some states. Some are still under discussion. BJP released the first list of its candidates on March 2. There were names of 195 candidates in this list. Some such states are Bihar, Maharashtra, Odisha, Haryana, Punjab and Karnataka from where BJP did not announce even a single candidate. The reason for not announcing the name of the candidate on even a single seat in these states is the BJP’s strategy to explore possibilities in the still ongoing talks on alliance with other parties or seat sharing with the parties in the alliance.

Lok Sabha elections are imminent. India alliance and NDA are trying to convince the angry leaders, set the mathematics of the alliance and increase the clan by bringing old allies together again. BJP has given the slogan of ‘This time, 400 crosses’ in these elections. Now the party is exploring the possibilities of alliances on a large scale to translate this slogan into election results. The alliance of Biju Janata Dal and BJP in Odisha is considered to be firm. If this alliance happens then both the parties can get good election results in the state. The reason is that in the last Lok Sabha elections, Congress had won only 1 seat and at present Naveen Patnaik is said to have a strong hold on the politics here. Both the parties remained in alliance for 11 years in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. During this period, both the parties continued to dominate the politics of the state. Patnaik is a master of politics, it seems to be in the interest of the party and the people of the state to form an alliance with the BJP.

Biju Janata Dal has been in government in Odisha for the last 25 years and its Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is considered the sole leader of this party and this party had cooperation with BJP till 2009 and was a part of NDA. When NDA was formed in 1998, Biju Janata Dal Late. Had joined it under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But in 2008, there were massive communal riots in Kandhamal, Odisha, in which serious allegations were also made against BJP. After that in 2009, Biju Janata Dal came out of NDA before the Lok Sabha elections. Now again after 15 years, it is joining NDA in the general elections of 2024 and wants to give new heights of development to the state under the leadership of Modi. Naveen Babu’s priority is to remain in control of the state government and BJP’s goal is to remain in control of the central government. Both parties can help each other in achieving each other’s goals. Therefore, this also nullifies the opposition’s argument that ever since Mr. Modi came to power, there has been a wave of opposition to the BJP in the country. It is the result of Modi’s effective leadership that many regional parties not only want to keep their politics alive by supporting BJP but also want to involve themselves in creating a new India – Strong India.

On the lines of Odisha, Nitish has seen interest in Modi’s leadership in Bihar also. This is the reason why Nitish joined NDA while making political changes in Bihar before the Lok Sabha elections. Due to this change, BJP and Nitish Kumar are likely to get a big advantage in this election in the state. Apart from Nitish Kumar’s party JDU, these parties are also in the NDA alliance with BJP in the state – Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party – Ram Vilas (LJP Ram Vilas), Chirag’s uncle Pashupati Paras’s LJP, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party. (RLSP) and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha. But due to many reasons, there is a tussle between these parties and BJP, the strings of agreement regarding seat sharing are entangled, which is expected to be resolved in the near future.

Out of 48 seats in Maharashtra, BJP can contest on about 32 seats, while Eknath Shinde’s Shiv Sena can get about 12 seats and Ajit Pawar’s NCP can get about 4 seats. Shiv Sena contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in the state along with BJP in NDA. BJP fielded candidates on 25 seats and won 23. Whereas Shiv Sena contested elections on 23 seats and won 18. Then Congress and NCP were together in alliance. NCP won 4 seats and Congress won 1 seat. On the other hand, there may be an alliance between BJP and Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh. Speculations about an alliance have gained momentum after the meeting of TDP chief and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 7. Talks have been finalized regarding the alliance between BJP, TDP and Jana Sena in the state. According to a report, TDP has agreed to leave 6 seats for BJP. BJP’s position is becoming favorable in various non-BJP states, due to which its target of crossing 400 seats seems to be achieved. Whereas Congress Party India is entangled in the complications of alliance. These entanglements are only making the path of BJP easier.

-Lalit Garg

(The author is a senior journalist and columnist)

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