2019 elections: BJP stitches strong alliance to counter Mahagatbandhan

Chennai:¬†With just a few weeks to go for the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP is slowly stitching together alliances in every State. With so much written about Congress’ attempt to come out with a grand alliance (Mahagatbandhan) in the recent past, the BJP, led by Amit Shah, is proving political pundits wrong with its recent actions.

This quiet move by the BJP merits attention. They surprised all when they agreed to settle for just five seats in Tamilnadu. Knowing well that they are weak in Tamilnadu, they scaled down their demand to accommodate the PMK. And efforts to convince Vijayakanth’s DMDK is on. In a State where a few opinion polls predicted advantage DMK until last week, the AIADMK-PMK-BJP-DMDK alliance is now seen as formidable.

Says political analyst Raveendran, “The BJP is playing its cards safely. They are neither bossy nor pushing for more seats. They have left things to be handled by the AIADMK. At the end of the day, the vote percentage matters. It is now a even contest in Tamilnadu. In a State where even saying the name of Modi was considered a ‘sin’ by a few sections, the BJP has gained strength by bringing together some big names.”

“Remember, the BJP, though managed an absolute majority in the last general elections, still they ran a typical coalition government giving ministerial berths for alliance partners in the NDA government,” he adds.

Call it a shrewd strategy by Amit Shah and Modi. With pollsters predicting a majority for the BJP individually as a Herculean task this time, they have sat down with calculations to make sure they cross the magical 272 mark with their partners. And this they are achieving by making sacrifices in a few States. For them eventually the number matters.

In Bihar, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (JD-U) gave a call for equal number of seats in the NDA, the BJP (which won 22 of the 40 seats in 2014) chose to accept his demand. They now contest 17 each, accommodating six remaining seats for other parties in their alliance. It was a must to counter the rise of Congress and Lalu’s RJD.

Amit Shah flanked by Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis after alliance talks.

After Bihar, the BJP looked at Maharashtra. Though they contested 2014 with their ally Shiv Sena, much happened between the two and it was widely predicted that they will part ways and fight each other in the 2019 general elections. The Shiva Sena missed no opportunity to come down heavily on the BJP government and Modi in particular. In case of a triangular contest with the Congress-NCP and Shiva Sena, the BJP’s fortunes would take a dent in Maharashtra. Hence, the party’s think-tank sat down and formulated a strategy to appease the Shiv Sena. They agreed to allot 23 of the 48 seats to the Sena in the Lok Sabha and contest an equal number of seats in the Assembly polls. Received well by both sides, now Shiv Sena is back with the BJP.

Talk about Uttar Pradesh, the national party is sitting pretty. The fear of anti-BJP votes going to Akhilesh – Mayawati combine looks dented with the Congress fielding Priyanka Gandhi to balance things there.

The BJP is holding parleys with BJD in Odisha, Telangana Rashtriya Samithi in Telangana, and YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh. Sources in the BJP say, “Even if these parties agree for post-poll alliance, we are in a comfortable position.”