Allies pile heat on BJP

Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday called up from Dubai and directed his MPs to continue protesting against the Modi government's "betrayal" of Andhra Pradesh, highlighting the increasing restiveness among allies who apprehend that the BJP would not secure the majority in 2019.

By J.P. YADAV
  • Published 9.02.18
  •  
Chandrababu Naidu

New Delhi: Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday called up from Dubai and directed his MPs to continue protesting against the Modi government's "betrayal" of Andhra Pradesh, highlighting the increasing restiveness among allies who apprehend that the BJP would not secure the majority in 2019.

Some other members of the ruling NDA have also started showing restlessness as the Modi government prepares to face the electorate next year.

The Shiv Sena, the BJP's oldest ally, has already declared that it will sever ties and go it alone in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Akali Dal has cautioned the BJP against riding roughshod over the interests of its allies and urged Modi's party to follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee-like "alliance dharma".

The BJP's Bihar ally, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha recently shared the stage with rival RJD leaders.

Internally, the BJP feels its alliance partners have started to turn restive following the party's "below-expectation" performance in the Gujarat polls and the rout in the by-elections in Rajasthan.

"Our allies feel that we will not get majority on our own in 2019 and so they have starting asserting themselves," a BJP leader said.

The BJP alone had won 282 seats riding on the Modi wave in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, comfortably beating the halfway mark of 272.

Now, the BJP's strength in the Lok Sabha has come down to 275 after the defeat in successive by-elections.

Most NDA allies feel the BJP will not be able to repeat its 2014 performance in 2019 and could even fall way short of the halfway mark. Then, the BJP would have to depend on the allies to form the government and so they have begun to make noises to make their importance felt.

Against the backdrop of the muscle-flexing by the Shiv Sena and the TDP, Akali Dal MP Naresh Gujral recently said his party was "disappointed that allies are not getting their due". "It is quite apparent that after the next Lok Sabha polls, no single party will have an absolute majority," Gujral said.

On Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitley assured the TDP that the government was considering its demands and would fulfil the promise of financial assistance to Andhra Pradesh. The TDP members, however, continued with their protest in both Houses.