NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party might not face any immediate threat following the ‘break-up’ with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) given the fact that it enjoys massive strength in the Lok Sabha, but simmering discontent among allies might give the party the image of an unreliable ally.
The BJP-led NDA received its first jolt on Thursday after two Central ministers belonging to the TDP, which has 16 members in the Lok Sabha, resigned from the Cabinet. The TDP’s move was preceded by the walkout from the NDA by a much smaller ally, the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) of former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, on February 28.
Besides the TDP and HAM-S, the BJP is also not on the best of terms with the Shiv Sena, the Akali Dal in Punjab and the People’s Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir. The Sena and the PDP in particular have often been at loggerheads with the saffron party over a number of issues, publicly exchanging barbs.
Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut took a dig at the BJP on Thursday, saying, “The Shiv Sena had expected this. Other parties have walked out of the NDA too.” Slamming the BJP for not respecting ties with its allies, Raut said, “Allies no longer have good relations with the BJP. Gradually their grudges will spill out and eventually they will walk out of the alliance.”
Going by the statements of Sena leaders, it would not be surprising if it also dissociates itself from the alliance.In Bihar, with Manjhi joining hands with the Opposition’s Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance), which includes the Congress and the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal, political equations in the state are likely to be affected.
Signs of a strain have also started showing in the old relationship between the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal. While there is no immediate sign of a break-up, the Akali Dal has declared that it will contest the Haryana Assembly elections, scheduled for 2019, independently.Political ties between the BJP and the PDP are rocky at the best of times given the different ideologies of the two parties.
The Lok Sabha polls are getting closer and strained relations with allies may damage the prospects of the saffron party.“It’s true that one ally has parted ways and some others may not be happy with us. But, it is not unnatural in politics. People always come with the strongest one. I don’t think the BJP will have any major difficulty in the 2019 polls,” said a party insider.