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BJP
Santosh Nair

Is it the END of NDA?

A scholarly child does not fear exams. He is invariably prepared for it.

An ideal political outfit is perpetually in a constant state of readiness for the elections. It is only when you transgress bounds of prudence you stand compelled to either delay or advance the dates of the event.

The coalition dharma is essentially binding on all the parties. It is hence imperative to treat the bond as sacrosanct. The party heading the coalition is inevitably assumed to endeavour firmly to keep their ilk together.

However, the ground situation is at variance to the above.

The Shiv Sena is vitriolic in its criticism of the BJP, it leaves no opportunity to slander them in public to the extent that it has praised the efforts of Manmohan Singh on various occasions. The Shiv Sena is a cadre-based party working extensively at the grass root levels. They have die-hard loyalists in their fold who are willing to walk the extra mile for the sake of the organization. It would certainly defy the BJP’s interest to indulge in a war of words with a close ally.

The SS / BJP combine was christened in 1989 with the SS leading from the front. The govt was formed in 1995 with Manohar Joshi as the CM. Traditionally the main strongholds of the SS were Mumbai and the Konkan coastal areas. While the urban base weakened with the passage of time they could make deep inroads into interior part of the state. However, the SS remained the forerunner until late 2014 when the BJP under PM Modi deemed it necessary to reassess the affiliation.

The Shiromani Akali Dal like the Sena is more a regional outfit but with rural stronghold. The BJP association with the SAD benefited each other immensely. However, the strain in the relationship cannot be perceived just as a motive for larger seat grabbing considering that the BJP contested only from 23 out of the 117 constituencies. It is a manifestation of the internal struggle for supremacy within the state BJP unit particularly after SAD was trounced in the recently concluded election by the Arminder Singh led Congress.

Sukhbir Singh Badal son of the veteran politician Prakash Singh Badal was not a votary to the alliance. Sukhbir Singh who reportedly engineered defection by coercing Congress legislators to cross over and recontest has wrested power from his aging father. The SAD is also sore about not being designated for ornamental govt positions as well.

The TDP is probably the only connect they share with the south of India. The coalition is termed as symbiotic in nature since both the parties had only to gain from this union. The TDP in terms of funds awaiting allocation from the govt and the BJP for penetration in the South. Post the cash-rich Hyderabad joining the new state Telangana, the huge cash deficit that surfaced was a source of concern to the CM and hence he needed the support of the Modi administration.

The BJP sensed the need of establishing a connect in south India. While the prospects of intrusion in the other southern states seemed bleak, AP appeared perfect for further penetration.

The BJP applecart could be further upset also due to problems from within. There are men who openly voice dissent like Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie and others like Murli Manohar Joshi and Lal Krishna Advani who are waiting in the wings for the right opportunity. There could be several others in-house who in private abhor the PMs utter neglect towards them but are compelled to abide by his dictates.

In the August company of an elite group of disgruntled people the only confidante that the PM seems to have is Amit Shah and marginally ArJaitleyely. The need of the hour is to placate people important to him promptly and obligate to the coalition dharma.

Deferment of election dates may not address the issues after all.

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