BJP’s existential dilemma

If Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) and the Bharatiya Janata Party do indeed break their alliance, a rapprochement may not happen between the old allies even in the outside chance of Narendra Modi leading his party to a tally close to double hundred.

Politics is a game of possibility. But the reason for which Nitish has threatened to break the 17 year old partnership – in the event of Modi’s projection as the BJP’s PM candidate–will be as much valid in the polls to the Bihar assembly a year after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Nitish cannot support a Modi-led government at the Centre and yet keep his perceived vote base in his home state. On the face of it, the notice he served on the BJP is against all political conventions.

No one party has the right to force another into deciding its leadership.

In 1996, the Congress snubbed the United Front when the latter went public with its decision to accept the Congress support minus PV Narasimha Rao, who was Premier when the Babri Mosque was demolished by outfits of the saffron parivar on December 6, 1992.

The extension of the same principle later saw IK Gujral telling off the Congress when it sought the DMK’s ejection from the government consequent to the Jain Commission’s indictment of the Dravidian party in the conspiracy that led to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

The DMK issue led to the collapse of the UF regime. But Nitish’s quandary is different: the choice he has is between keeping the alliance with the BJP or the social pact that gave him the mandate to rule Bihar.

That dilemma rooted in the Muslims’ distrust of Modi is largely shared by Mulayam Singh and Mayawati in UP and Mamata Banerjee in West Bengal.

Muslims were at the centre of the social accord that catapulted the SP and the BSP to power on their own strength in the previous two elections in UP — 2007 and 2012.

As they’d as much need the minority vote in the 2017 assembly polls, they’d think a hundred times before even indirectly supporting a Modi dispensation in Delhi.

The Left parties will never back Modi. Nor will the TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu who cites his outside support of the BJP-led NDA after the 2002 Gujarat riots, as a major reason for his 2009 drubbing in the assembly polls.

In J&K, Omar Abdullah’s NC and Mahbooba Mufti’s PDP might break their record of consistent disagreement by agreeing to steer clear of Modi.

That leaves the BJP with possible support from one of the two Tamil Nadu-based Dravidian parties, the AIADMK and the DMK besides Naveen Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal and Shiv Sena despite its preference for Sushma Swaraj as PM.

As of now, the Akali Dal is the only BJP partner who does not consider the Gujarat strongman a political anathema.

But it’ll be as much willing to back LK Advani, Sushma, Rajnath Singh or Arun Jaitely for the high office.

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