A sense of NDA’s disintegration: As the BJP ditches partners, a new alliance model emerges. Political Plus News

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which once boasted of its long-standing alliances, has been reeling in recent years amid the emergence of the BJP as the country’s largest political party.

“How can you say Shiv Sena abandoned us? Eknath Shinde is the Shiv Sena leader and he is with the NDA,” said a BJP leader, focusing on the fact that it was Shinde, not Uddhav Thackeray, who had the official symbol. Sharad Pawar The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which has never been an ally of the BJP, also split earlier this year and a major faction led by Ajit Pawar is now part of the Maharashtra government.

In the past four years, the NDA has also lost the Shiromani Akali Dal, which left the alliance in 2020 when the Narendra Modi government introduced three farm laws — now withdrawn — that sparked protests in Punjab. . The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is currently accusing the SAD of deciding to re-enter the NDA, which the Sukhbir Singh Badal-led party has vehemently denied. SAD will also be concerned about Sikhs in Canada following the diplomatic standoff between India and Canada.

Former ally Janata Dal (United), led by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, also walked out of the NDA for the second time in August 2022, with the JD(U) now part of the opposition India Bloc.

The NDA is looking at local patterns of how it is losing and gaining allies. A BJP insider said, “In areas where we have become too powerful, some allies feel threatened that we are eating away at them, as more and more people are voting for us.” “Look at Uddhav Thackeray. Since the people of Maharashtra had made BJP their first choice, he changed his party ideology and went with Congress to survive. But he could not keep his party united and a large part of his legislators came over to us.

Officially, the BJP took a measured line. “Any family-based political organization has a limited tenure. We saw that in the Sena split, the self-proclaimed Eknath Shinde convinced most of the legislators and the family-based Uddhav Thackeray lost support within the party. As far as As far as the BJP is concerned, Atal Bihar Vajpayee gave the principle of Etihad Dharma and we have always followed it,” said BJP spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan. Indian Express.

At the pan-India level, being an equal ally with a regional party in the BJP’s core regions – North, West and Central India – is a thing of the past. It has become much bigger than its erstwhile allies Shiv Sena, before the split, and JD(U). In these states, the BJP created tension with its former allies who once considered themselves equal partners. In the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections, the BJP won 105 out of 164 seats and the Sena won 56 out of 124 seats. In the 2020 Bihar Assembly Elections, BJP and JD(U) contested in alliance on 110 and 111 seats respectively. . BJP won 74 seats while JD(U) got only 43 seats.

NDA in BJP stronghold

The new NDA in BJP core areas is about “unequal” alliances with smaller parties, usually catering to caste groups. Some examples are Om Prakash Rajbhar’s Sohail Dev Bharatiya Samaj Party, Sanjay Nishad’s Nishad Party, and Anupriya Patel’s Apna Dil (Sunilal) in Uttar Pradesh, and Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha, Chirag Paswan’s Lok Jan Shakti Party ( Ram Vilas). and his estranged uncle Pashupati Paras’s Rashtriya Lok Jan Shakti Party in Bihar. In Maharashtra, the Republican Party of India (Uthawale), Haryana Deputy CM Dushant Chautala’s Jannaik Janata Party, and Gopal Kunda’s Haryana Janata Party are also with the NDA.

“During the Vajpayee-Advani era, the BJP was even willing to do business with regional parties as a junior partner. According to the 1999 formula, the Shiv Sena would get 171 seats and the BJP 117. In Bihar, they made Nitish Kumar the chief minister forever,” said political scientist Sajjan Kumar. “Under Modi, it is no longer ready to be a junior partner. In fact, it either makes regional parties irrelevant or positions itself as their challenger. However, it is very small, caste-based, sub-regional. It is willing to form alliances with parties that bring a small share of the vote and are not dominant regional players.”

However, Kumar adds that the BJP’s old pattern of alliances with dominant regional parties continues in the Northeast, where it has hurt the Congress through such alliances.

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In Tamil Nadu, the aggressive politics of BJP state president K Annamalai complicated matters for the AIADMK. BJP insiders said AIADMK’s walkout may not be final but believe Annamalai gives the party visibility in a state where it has no presence. A BJP leader said on condition of anonymity, “In the context of the dominance of the Dravidian ideology that talks about the fundamental difference between the state and the Hindi belt, it is bad to explore (alternative ideological pitches). Can’t be imagined.” .

The inclusion of the JD(S) in the NDA is a response to the Congress’s strong position in Karnataka following its victory in the assembly elections earlier this year, which is believed to have the core JD(S) voter base of the Vokkaligas. There is a part. Has shifted to Congress. So, BJP and JD(S) need each other if they have to take on the Congress.

Hence, there is no single NDA pattern across India, but a regional pattern depending on the strength of the BJP. In core constituencies, where the BJP has been sweeping Lok Sabha elections since 2014, it has a strong reliance on allies who feel threatened by it.

First published: 27-09-2023 at 16:19 IST

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