By Nihal Parashar:
Little more than a decade back NDA had some 24 coalition partners which has drastically come down to 3. JD(U)’s exit from NDA brings forth many questions which NDA, especially BJP, has to answer.
BJP called Bihar bandh today. Senior Bihar BJP leaders were spotted on the streets of Patna protesting against JD(U) and its leader Nitish Kumar. Nitish’s exit from BJP led NDA doesn’t come as a surprise. It was expected. JD(U) has worked hard over the years to establish itself as a secular face. Nitish’s policies in Bihar are testimony for it.
Meanwhile something very interesting has happened in BJP. Narendra Modi has become more important than the entire party and all the senior leaders. A certain faction of BJP has worked hard to project him as the new face of BJP which, in my opinion, will have serious consequences. Contrary to what all the spokespersons of BJP say- Modi is the most popular leader of the country- he is the most communal face of the country, at least that is the perception about him for what so ever reason. BJP tried to project him as the ‘natural leader’ and JD(U) was compelled to leave the alliance.
When Atal Bihari Vajpayee, comparatively a moderate Hindutva leader, led the coalition government, he had 24 partners to support him and in no way one could call the coalition a representation of a certain fraction of the society. After 2002 few partners left. After the general election in 2004, few more left the alliance. A decade later 21 partners have left the alliance and NDA is left with BJP, Akali Dal and Shiv Sena- 3 communal faces as we call them. JD(U) was the last Secular face the party had. We also need to understand that Shiv Sena is a small party from Maharashtra, Akali Dal is a party limited to Punjab and BJP doesn’t have presence in North-East, the Southern India and many other regions of the country!
It becomes hard to believe how BJP or the three parties of NDA can expect to form a government in this scenario! Even if they perform too well they cannot cross the figure of 272. They will need support from other parties later. If BJP nominates Modi as its PM candidate then it will become difficult for NDA to get support from others later. But we cannot ignore the fact that we have many political parties who believe in the politics of opportunity more than anything else.
The present developments within NDA must be giving hope for Congress as many of these steps will result in division of vote and can help Congress indirectly. The Indian politics is in a very interesting phase and is more entertaining than any reality show right now. We have people and parties fighting for power even when the mandate has not been declared; certainly amusing!