In search of friends
Against a united opposition in 2019, the BJP
will need to keep all its allies together
A friend in need is the friend who comes a-calling. After four years of being in a situation where itas a much soughtafter ally, the Bharatiya Janata Party is now reduced to the role of a supplicant before potential electoral partners, the Shiv Sena and the Shiromani Akali Dal.
The Sena has always been a difficult ally for the BJP, despite a close ideological affinity. Even so, an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece Saamna, insisting that the Sena would fight the coming elections alone, ahead of the meeting between BJP president Amit Shah and Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray, revealed a new level of assertion in a stormy relationship.
Unable to adjust to its role as a junior partner of the BJP, the Sena is eager to return to its pre2014 status as the unquestioned leader of the alliance.
Indeed, Mr. Thackeray is under some pressure to demonstrate that he is as domineering as his father Bal Thackeray was in dealings with the BJP. And if he doesn’t retrieve the ground ceded to the BJP in the last four years, the Sena might forever be pushed around in Maharashtra. The Sena, which began as a Marathi chauvinist party, took to Hindutva and allied with the BJP in an attempt to widen its support base; but despite its efforts to be more strident in its Hindutva, the party could only watch helplessly as sections of its newly created support base moved toward the BJP. True, the two parties need each other to retain power in Maharashtra, but the relationship equations are unstable.
The Sena believes the BJP should allow it to lead the alliance in the Assembly election in return for support it would give the BJP in a Lok Sabha election, and the BJP wants the Sena to recognise the changed political equilibrium in Maharashtra. What exactly Mr. Shah achieved through the outreach meeting, other than to signal to the allies that the BJP is willing to be accommodative in sharing seats and power, is not clear. Accommodation, the party must have recognised, was necessary in the context of its defeats in the recent by-elections and the desertion by the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh.
The outreach effort took Mr. Shah to Punjab as well, where its senior ally, the SAD, is seen to be in decline. In the BJP’s assessment, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the SAD hit the party as well, with the alliance finishing third in seat share terms behind the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party in the last Assembly election. But dumping its traditional ally is no option at all for the BJP in what could be a tight Lok Sabha election. The BJP will also need allies in the southern States if it is to make significant gains in terms of seats. But potential allies are few, except perhaps the AIADMK in Tamil Nadu. With opposition parties uniting against it in several States, the BJP will need all the allies it can get in the coming year
1) Despite = In spit of, Regardless of ( के बावजूद )
2) Affinity = Affection ( संबंध )
3) Assertion = Allegation, Affirmation ( दावा)
4) Equilibrium = Balance ( संतुलन)
5) Accommodation = Compromise ( समझौता)
By Dream Big Institution
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Credit of This Article Goes to The Hindu Newspapers