It is said that coming events cast their shadows before. The Bharatiya Janta Party’s falling out with Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, which has 16 MPs, is indicative of an imminent thunderstorm. The immediate provocation could be demand for ‘special status’ or tax concessions like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East, but the fact remains that allies of National Democratic Alliance are eying the next general election.
Ironically, though the BJP has wrested three more governments in North-East, the NDA partners apparently find that its aura of invincibility is no more intact. The trigger came when the underdog Congress dented the esteem of BJP in Gujarat. The by-election results in Rajasthan where Congress won from both Alwar and Ajmer Lok Sabha seats came as further embarrassment for the party. In Madhya Pradesh too where BJP is in saddle for the past 15 years, the Congress was able to retain Mungaoli and Kolaras Assembly seats. The Samajwadi Party’s win in Gorakhpur and Phulpur and RJD’s in Bihar could be a cause of worry for the BJP.
All is not well between Shiv Sena which has 18 MPs, and the BJP as the former has made it known that it will go alone in next Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena has repeatedly targeted the union government over price rise and hike in petrol prices. In Bihar too, a senior Janta Dal United leader and former Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary called on Rashtriya Janta Dal chief Lalu Prasad in Birsa Munda Central Jail after he was convicted in two separate fodder scam cases. Another NDA leader Brishen Patel met the jailed RJD president in Ranchi court. A yet another ally of NDA, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party led by Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha held a human chain programme against the existing education systems of both Bihar government and the government at the Centre. While all this was not enough, Telengana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has proposed a third front of parties — a front minus BJP and Congress. The BJP-led coalition had come to power after getting a massive mandate in the 2014 general elections and now ahead of next general election, chinks have begun appearing in the coalition indicating unrest among the coalition partners. It is time for the BJP to give more attention to its friendly parties or else there would be Naidus, Thackerays and Badals treading separate paths. The BJP may be a dominant player in national politics — ruling in 22 out of 29 states directly or indirectly, but going to general election alone and turning a solitary reaper may be fraught with high risks!