Emboldened allies to bargain hard with Modi’s BJP

modi-varansi4COMMENT: Nine months after the party swept all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and won a majority in Parliament, the BJP could get only three seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly.

This debacle has not only put the party on the back foot but has given the RSS space to push its agenda.

According to news reports, it will oversee the BJP’s strategy in Bihar, which will go to polls later this year. The pressure from the RSS comes at a time when the BJP is in trouble with many of its NDA allies.

In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena has been vocal about its disappointment with the BJP and the relations between the two are not exactly cordial. After the Delhi poll results, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray commented that “Delhi has shown that a tsunami is bigger than a wave,” a jibe at the ‘Modi wave’.

In Saamana, the Sena criticised the BJP for Monday’s attack against CPI leader Govind Pansare and his wife in Kolhapur and the general deterioration in the law and order situation in Maharashtra.

The Sena has also warned the BJP against not committing the ‘sin’ of supporting Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in his fight against JD(U) boss Nitish Kumar. In Tamil Nadu, the six-party alliance the BJP formed during the 2014 general elections is under strain.

Last year, the Vaiko-led MDMK walked out of the alliance, stating that the BJP was acting against the interests of Tamil people.

On Sunday, the PMK — an NDA ally — announced former Union health minister and the party’s lone MP in Lok Sabha A Ramadoss as its chief ministerial candidate for the 2016 elections. In Punjab, the BJP’s move to increase its party base and its campaign against the drug menace has soured its ties with its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal.

While it is too early to say how exactly the BJP’s relations with its allies will pan out, what is pretty certain is that the Delhi loss has emboldened its allies or potential allies and they will now bargain hard for their share, as the course of ongoing negotiations with the PDP in J&K suggests.

It is likely that the BJP would be more accommodating of its allies and they, in turn, would provide the required checks and balances. Defeat, after all, is not always such a bad thing. – From the Hindustan Times

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