NEW DELHI: Amid emerging electoral challenges out of Opposition unity, the BJP is gearing up to go extra mile to ensure that the NDA allies stick together and face the 2019 Lok Sabha election battle jointly.
A section of leaders within the BJP has begun advocating that the party should cede some space to its allies to ensure that the NDA remains together.
“The spectre of Opposition unity will pose a challenge to the BJP, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra where the party has strong footprints. The BJP had scored maximum gains in these states in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The party has enough space to manoeuvre permutations and combinations to take along the allies in the general elections,” said a senior BJP leader.
In Bihar, the BJP had bagged 22 of the 32 Lok Sabha seats that the NDA had netted in 2014. “There are a few seats in Bihar which had not been BJP’s traditional bases. Now that the JD(U) is part of the NDA, the BJP wouldn’t have the advantage of a triangular contest that could have split the anti-BJP votes. Thus, there is no harm in ceding a few of the BJP seats to the JD(U) to ensure that a united NDA takes on a combined Opposition,” said a party leader.
The RSS has also advised the BJP to work overtime to ensure that the NDA stays together to ward off the challenges arising out of the Opposition parties coming together. “The BJP had won unexpected number of Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. Though it has two smaller outfits as allies, yet the party will explore the possibility of forging alliances with influential caste groups to counter the coming together of the Samajwadi Party and the BSP,” added the BJP leader.
Following a meeting between BJP president Amit Shah and Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray in Mumbai recently, the party is bracing to address the concerns of the NDA ally in Maharashtra. “The BJP-Shiv Sena contested the 2014 polls together. The Sena had been apprehensive about BJP’s expansion in the state. We could stick to the 2014 seat adjustment formula, which would be acceptable to both the parties,” the BJP leader said.