National

BJD, AIADMK will be BJP’s preferred allies

| Updated on: May 12, 2014
image caption

Too many conflicts with Trinamool, BSP

If the BJP, confident of getting the largest chunk of seats in the Lok Sabha, still needs allies, its preference would be for Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and J Jayalalithaa’s All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Another distinct feature of the government, if Narendra Modi at all gets to form it, will be the culling of the veterans. LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Yashwant Sinha are unlikely to be part of Modi’s cabinet. Jaswant Singh has already severed his links with the BJP by contesting as an Independent from Barmer in Rajasthan.

Modi’s team will represent the second-generation seniors — Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, and Ravi Shankar Prasad — along with the younger lot of leaders such as Anurag Thakur, Smriti Irani, Shahnawaz Hussein, Rajiv Pratap Rudy (if they manage to win the tough contest they are facing). Modi’s trusted lieutenant Amit Shah prefers to remain active in the party organisation and will join the government only if his boss insists.

If the trends shown by exit polls are any indication, the BJP is within sniffing distance of forming a government with the existing lot of about 25 parties that form the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). Besides the smaller parties in the north-eastern States and Independents, the bigger provincial parties the BJP is talking to are the BJD and the AIADMK.

Jaitley at work

Jaitley is said to be talking to Odisha Chief Minister Patnaik while Modi himself is reportedly in touch with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Both the parties have been NDA allies in the past.

Significantly, the BJP has been handling Patnaik carefully after he took umbrage to the party appointing the relatively junior Chandan Mitra to negotiate with him in March 2009. Patnaik humiliated the BJP by offering only six of the 21 seats to the for the last Lok Sabha elections.

This time, it is the BJP’s senior strategist Jaitley who is directly negotiating with Patnaik. BJP sources said the BJD has been offered three ministries, of which one minister will be in the junior rank.

As for the AIADMK chief, no one other than Modi himself is eligible to negotiate. “I don’t think we will even need any allies but if we do, the BJD and the AIADMK are the most suitable of the lot. Of course, there are others like the Trinamool Congress and the BSP, but with them, there will be sharp differences on the issue of Bangladeshi infiltrators and terrorism because they cater to a certain vote bank,” said a BJP source.

Published on November 24, 2017

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