BJP’s itch with allies is old

Right now, the oldest and most time-tested ally, Shiv Sena, is in a rebellious mood as it wants equal share of power in Maharashtra, which is not acceptable to BJP.
Amit Shah Uddhav Thackeray MH

New Delhi, Oct 30 : BJP, which is facing trouble from old alliance partner Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, does not have a great record when it comes to keeping its allies happy.

The saffron party, which formed National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in 1998 when it fell short of majority in the Lok Sabha elections, has seen several parties coming in and going out over the past two decades.

These included Janata Dal (United), Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Janata Dal (Secular), DMK, Trinamool Congress (TMC), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Indian National Lok Dal (INLD)

Right now, the oldest and most time-tested ally, Shiv Sena, is in a rebellious mood as it wants equal share of power in Maharashtra, which is not acceptable to BJP.

The Shiv Sena was unhappy with BJP even during the first term of Devendra Fadnavis-led government as it felt slighted. However, it came around just before the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year to contest the polls together.

The bonhomie ended as soon as the results of the October 21 Assembly elections in Maharashtra came out, with Shiv Sena insisting that the Chief Ministership should be rotated after two-and-a-half years.

While it continues to face problems with Shiv Sena, the BJP’s relationship with JD(U) in Bihar is also not hunky dory, although they continue to run coalition government there.

JD(U) is sulking since May when its demand for adequate representation in the Modi government in the second term was not met and it decided to keep out of the Union Cabinet. The two allies are now taking swipes at each other using various issues.

Apna Dal:

BJP’s ally from Uttar Pradesh, is also unhappy for being denied a Cabinet berth in the Modi government.

A smaller but significant ally of BJP in Uttar Pradesh, Apna Dal has had a rough relationship with the saffron party. Soon after it came on board before 2014 general election, discontent started to show that was soothed by making Anupriya Patel a minister.

Before General election this year, Patel’s party had stated that till ‘their demands’ were not met and ‘prestige restored’, she would not attend any state government function in the state. After she was left out of Modi 2.0 cabinet, the party went on record to claim it was “hurt”. After the surprise loss of state elections in December 2018, Patel minced no words when she said, “BJP should learn from recent losses”. In fact, ahead of 2019 election, a cryptic video released by the party gave a sense that the alliance is over. But it was saved, however.

Telegu Desam Party:

After months of tension and internal wrangling, In March last year, Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP quit the BJP-led NDA. It wasn’t a sudden decision for the party. In fact, much before that, TDP, had pulled out its ministers from the Union Cabinet, demanding special status for Andra Pradesh. In fact, soon after leaving the BJP fold, Naidu had alleged, PM Modi did not meet him for once during his 29 visits to New Delhi, to discuss the contentious issue.

People’s Democratic Party:

In case of Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP, with whom the BJP forged an unexpected but pragmatic alliance in Jammu and Kashmir, was dumped by the saffron party, rather than being dumped, in June last year. In a sudden announcement that caught her off guard, the BJP had announced that it was quitting the coalition with PDP in Kashmir. Ram Madhav, the man who was credited for enabling the alliance has called it “untenable” while dumping PDP. Mufti had said back then, “PDP workers had to face a lot, but they stood by us and supported us.”

Hindustan Awam Morcha:

This party led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi quit the NDA after it was denied a Rajya Sabha seat that it sought for itself. Majhi had preferred to join Lalu Prasad’s alliance than stay in NDA fold. Though it was guided by plain give and take logic, devoid of any ideals, but the fact remains a smaller party like HAM too had desired BJP, in Bhar.

Naga People’s Front:

In this case, BJP dumped it’s ally of 15 years in the north eastern state of Nagaland. It had deserted the NPF in Winter of 2018 in bid to explore options in tying up with Nationalist Democratic People’s Party. The decision to change allies overnight was taken by national BJP President Amit Shah and its Nagaland president Visasolie Lhoungu.

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party:

This Bihar-based party led by Upendra Kushwaha, a prominent Kushwaha leader called it quits in December last year after being pictured with opposition leaders on multiple occasions. Soon after leaving the NDA fold, he had alleged he was let down on multiple occasions and infect was allegedly was called “neeech” (low caste) by Nitish Kumar. But insiders say, he was given a better deal by Lalu in UPA and more respect that he thought he never got while with BJP.

In the not so long ago, soon after BJP had lost three key states of Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in 2018 fag end, LJP too had started to act pricey with many predicting its exit, which was avoided when Shah himself intervened to appease the Paswans.

In the past, BJP had alliance with National Conference in J&K from 1999 to 2002. NC had walked out as it felt it lost Assembly elections because of the alliance with the saffron party which is not accepted well in the valley.

Not to forget, Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress too was a part of the NDA. But it was the era of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and she had quit NDA multiple times – first in 2001 alleging scam against then defense minister George Fernandez and later by throwing her resignation on the floor of the house after her urging to debate illegal infiltration was not allowed.

In Karnataka, BJP had forged alliance with JD(S) which ended in 2010. An alliance with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in Uttar Pradesh too ended not on a very rosy note, in 2012. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) was also an ally of BJP before it parted ways in 2012. So much so, the DMK too did business with BJP from 1999 to 2004, which couldn’t be carried forward much like the one with Shiromani Akali Dal or the Shiv Sena.

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