MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Friday, 24 May 2024

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Wooing exes key to BJP's Mission 400

Over the past few years, the BJP had largely behaved as though it did not care much for allies and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was capable of single-handedly winning it elections in the states and at the Centre

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 08.03.24, 06:03 AM
PM Narendra Modi.

PM Narendra Modi. File Photo.

The BJP has set its sights on alliances with the Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh and the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab after clinching a deal with the BJD in Odisha that now awaits only a formal announcement, party insiders said.

All three parties are former allies that had dumped the BJP.

ADVERTISEMENT

Over the past few years, the BJP had largely behaved as though it did not care much for allies and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was capable of single-handedly winning it elections in the states and at the Centre. It had been dismissive about desertion by long-time friends, even its oldest ally Shiv Sena.

The current push for alliances therefore appears to mark a shift in attitude and is almost certainly a consequence of Modi setting the NDA a target of winning 400 of the Lok Sabha’s 543 seats.

Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu and his ally Pawan Kalyan, who heads the Jana Sena Party, began seat-sharing talks with the BJP leadership late on Thursday night.

BJP insiders said that two rounds of discussions had already taken place with Naidu and the latest meeting was likely to thrash out a final arrangement.

Seat negotiations are also in progress with the Akali Dal, party leaders said.

The Akalis had snapped ties with the BJP over the three controversial and now-revoked farm laws of 2020. The Desam had walked out before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, protesting the Centre’s failure to honour the promises made to Andhra after the 2014 bifurcation of the state.

The Biju Janata Dal had left the NDA in 2009 without any clear reason being cited, apart from that of the regional party being strong enough to go solo.

“We are now trying to get back all the NDA partners who had left us. Our focus is on increasing our Lok Sabha tally, and seat-sharing arrangements are being worked out with that in mind,” a BJP leader said.

He explained that whatever the previous arrangements with these parties were when they were in the NDA, the new deals would ensure that the BJP got the lion’s share of seats in the Lok Sabha polls.

For instance, under the agreement with the BJD, the BJP gets to contest the bulk of Odisha’s Lok Sabha seats while the ally will have the upper hand in the Assembly polls, to be held concurrently with the general election.

Party insiders said the BJP was likely to contest 14 of the 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha.

A formal announcement of the BJD’s return to the NDA, and of the details of the seat shares, is expected soon, sources said. “There are some differences over the Assembly seats that are expected to be ironed out soon,” a BJP leader said.

The BJP had won 8 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in 2019, and hopes to do much better this time.

“Odisha and Andhra Pradesh are states where we can increase our seats tally to reach the (BJP’s) target of 370 (as part of the 400 the NDA is eyeing),” a BJP parliamentarian from Odisha said.

In Andhra, too, the BJP is intent on bagging the majority of the Lok Sabha seats, and hopes to capitalise on Naidu’s perceived desperation to return to the NDA.

The BJP is looking to drive a hard bargain in Bihar, too, and get Nitish Kumar’s JDU to settle for fewer seats than before. The two parties had contested 17 seats each in the 2019 elections, leaving 6 of Bihar’s 40 seats for the LJP.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT