New Delhi, Feb. 28: The BJP has declared that its days of living in “political isolation” were over with Ram Vilas Paswan’s “homecoming” last night.
Another former ally, the DMK, today beamed friendly overtures at the BJP after splitting in 2004 on the “secular-communal” issue.
A statement from the Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley today said: “When certain political groups identify themselves with the NDA, their area of influence may be confined to a particular state. However, their joining sends a larger political signal.”
Questioning the line that Modi as contender for Prime Minister would not draw allies, he noted: “They (friends in the media and political observers) felt the party would be politically isolated.”
“When there is a groundswell of support, a party can even live in ‘splendid isolation’. However, that was never to be. A strong BJP has the capacity to attract more friends and allies than a weaker BJP. This groundswell of support, which is visible in the BJP rallies, is the game-changer. It sends a message loud and clear of which way the wind is blowing,” Jaitley wrote.
Jaitley wrote that he had always believed a strong BJP would lead to a stronger NDA and claimed the return of B.S. Yeddyurappa and Keshubhai Patel’s Gujarat Parivartan Party showed that they were “adding to the strength of the party”.
The argument that a strong BJP would lead to a stronger NDA was made forcefully by RSS leaders to L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj when they had opposed declaring Modi the prime ministerial candidate on the grounds that it would make the party a political “untouchable” again.
The Sangh had contended that Modi alone had the “charisma and ability” to re-kindle the enthusiasm of the BJP cadres and appeal to a larger constituency beyond the party’s core base. It said that once the BJP gathered a “critical mass” of support, prospective allies would reach out to it.
“How to strengthen the NDA required a lesson from Atalji’s book. A three-party NDA in 1996 became a 24-party NDA in 1998,” Jaitley said, claiming the BJP’s innate tendency to “accept and respect India’s federal and diverse character” was a big reason for the enlargement of the coalition.