BJP suffers from ‘ally sickness’ with AIADMK, Shiv Sena, SAD & JD(U)
There is growing but grudging admission by BJP leaders that they will need allies to form the Government this time. But its allies do not seem to be doing too well themselves
A key problem for the BJP is that its major allies do not seem to be doing well. Of the major NDA allies, TDP has already walked out. It had 15 MPs in the outgoing Lok Sabha. The AIADMK in Tamil Nadu, after the death of J Jayalalithaa and the split in the party, is again not expected to do well. It had 36 MPs in 2014.
In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, which had 18 members in the Lok Sabha, is facing a crisis by aligning with the BJP at the last moment after bad-mouthing it for several years.
While the Sena may have succeeded in keeping BJP’s Kirit Somayya out of the election because he had described the SS as a mafia and Uddhav Thackeray as a don, the Shiv Sena workers on the ground have not taken kindly to the alliance, say reports. What’s more, Raj Thackeray of the MNS, which is not contesting in the election, campaigned vigorously against the SS-BJP combine and openly called upon people to vote for the Congress-NCP alliance.
Yet another drought leading to farm distress and rural anger in Maharashtra, the alienation of the Dalits following the crackdown post-Bhima Koregaon and the lack lustre performance of the Devendra Fadnavis Government in the state have also added to BJP-Shiv Sena’s discomfort.
The other major NDA ally, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which had just four MPs, is not expected to improve upon its tally in Punjab. The NDA’s loss on account of these four allies alone is likely to range between 40 and 50 seats. The smaller allies are unlikely to make up the loss.
The only NDA ally which is expected to improve its 2014 tally is the JD(U) in Bihar. It had secured just two seats in 2014. But this time in alliance with the BJP, it is contesting 17 seats in Bihar and is expected to have a reasonable strike rate of 50 to 60 per cent, potentially allowing it to win around 10 seats. But that will be offset by five of the 22 seats that BJP had won in 2014 but gave up this time in favour of its allies.