The NDA’s big get together on July 18 in New Delhi, on the same day as an opposition meet in Bengaluru, will have the participation of 38 political parties, an event, BJP president J P Nadda said that was underpinned with nationalist ideology, in contrast to the opposition, which he termed as “hollow, based on selfishness, with neither leader nor good intentions.”
Addressing a presser at the BJP’s headquarters in New Delhi, Mr Nadda said, that the NDA “will resolve that the country will again elect its government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The country has decided that.” The aim of consolidation, in the face of the Opposition’s moves to do the same very clearly stated.
“The NDA is underpinned by the ideology of national interest and people’s welfare by taking along all sections of society,” said Mr Nadda, adding that it was in contrast to the opposition which “has been cobbled together with a selfish motive to protect these leaders from cases of corruption of more than ₹20 lakh crore during the UPA government,” he said. “This is just a good photo opportunity,” he added.
To a question on whether the BJP’s former allies such as the Akali Dal and the Telugu Desam Party will also join the NDA, he said it is up to them and claimed that the decision to leave the alliance with his party was theirs. “The BJP never asked them to go, and we have always maintained decorum and civility even after we parted ways,” he said. He also said that tying with different parties, which the BJP may have attacked in the past was a part of strategy, keeping the overall goal of fulfilling the party’s ideological goals which it has held on to for even from its earlier avatar, the Jan Sangh.
In response to a question on arm twisting different party leaders to join through cases against them, Mr. Nadda firmly said, “we believe in the law, and show me one case that has been thrown out because it’s a wrong case, or anyone who is in jail who should not be. The cases are being pursued by independent agencies and cant be laid at our door,” he said.
The BJP president also lashed out at the Congress for its suggestion that the ruling party was bringing together its allies due to the unity exercise in opposition ranks. “The NDA just completed its 25 years of existence,” he said, mocking Congress leaders for their “ignorance”. He lauded the Modi government for its work on development, welfare and good governance.
Earlier in the day, Chirag Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) met with both Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Mr Nadda, signalling that he would be attending the NDA meet, which could be an awkward party, with his estranged uncle and Union minister Pasupati Paras also in attendance. In fact, Mr Paras had a sharp exchange with Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai who was in talks with both the uncle and nephew to reconcile their differences. “Pasupati Paras was clear that he has claims over the Hajipur seat from where he was elected MP in 2019, and that the LJP MPs are with him,” said a source. Another ally, Mukesh Sahni of the Vikashsheel Insaan Party (VIP) active among the Nishad community in Bihar is not likely to attend as there were no assurances over his demand for reservations for the Nishad community in Uttar Pradesh.
A strong contingent from Tamil Nadu will be in attendance on July 18 in New Delhi, with the AIADMK, the PMK, the Tamil Manila Congress, the Indiya Makkal Kalvi Munnetra Kazhagam (IMKMK) having confirmed their presence.
For the BJP, the big splash it intends to make on Tuesday is as much for refuting allegations of high handedness within their alliances, as a stand against perceptions that it is politically isolated.