BJP looks to stitch together new alliances ahead of Lok Sabha polls

Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP interested in joining hands in AP, but BJP must keep unspoken ally YSRCP in mind; JD(S) may want short-term alliance in Karnataka; BJP hoping for JD(U) defections in Bihar

June 08, 2023 06:24 pm | Updated July 27, 2023 02:10 pm IST - NEW DELHI

In the midst of celebrating nine years of the Narendra Modi-led government, the BJP is attempting to recalibrate its electoral strategy in different States | representative image

In the midst of celebrating nine years of the Narendra Modi-led government, the BJP is attempting to recalibrate its electoral strategy in different States | representative image | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

In the midst of celebrating nine years of the Narendra Modi-led government, the BJP is also attempting to recalibrate its electoral strategy in different States, in the run up to both the upcoming Assembly polls in five States and the next general election in 2024.

Home Minister Amit Shah’s meeting with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has set off speculation that there could be a return to the NDA fold for Mr. Naidu, after having parted ways in 2019.

According to sources, Mr. Naidu is keen to forge an alliance with the BJP in Andhra Pradesh, where he feels that Mr. Modi’s popularity and the BJP’s other ally, the Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party could help him regain power after the TDP was wiped out in the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. Mr. Kalyan has been pushing for the three-party alliance for some time.

Unspoken allies

The relationship between the BJP government at the Centre and the Y.S. Jagan-led YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh is an important consideration in all this; hence, the BJP is less than keen on an alliance with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh. The YSRCP has been a dependable partner in floor co-ordination in Parliament in the past for the BJP government, providing — along with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) — crucial support to pass important legislation. Therefore, the BJP has in principle decided to explore an alliance with the TDP, but will also be mindful of its other, unspoken ally in Andhra Pradesh.

For the BJP, the crisis is more acute in the other Telugu-speaking state of Telangana, with the party not just battling factionalism within — with newcomers like Etela Rajendra facing off against State unit president Bandi Sanjay Kumar — but the party high command dismally aware that the BJP simply does not have enough candidates to field in all 119 seats in the State Assembly. With the Congress emerging victorious in Karnataka, defections from that party to the BJP are also not going to be of the calibre and strength that is required.

JD(S): Short-term ally?

There is also buzz that the Janata Dal (Secular), having suffered a rout in Karnataka, may approach the BJP for an alliance, for the very simple reason that it requires protection to prevent the poaching of its ranks by a resurgent Karnataka Congress. For the JD(S), this is a short-term tactic for survival, rather than a long-term strategy. While a BJP-JD(S) alliance will lead to a consolidation of minority votes for the Congress in the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP may gain some traction in the Vokkaliga vote, which is a long-term aim to transcend the tag of just being a Lingayat party.

Sources told The Hindu that the JD(S) is asking that four Lok Sabha seats — in Hassan, Mandya, Bangalore (Rural) and Chikkaballarpur — be kept aside for the party, while the BJP is still mulling the entire move.

Also Read | Talking Politics with Nistula Hebbar | Karnataka Results 2023 | What it means for Congress, BJP and JD(S)

Expecting JD(U) defections

In Bihar too, the BJP is awaiting some defections from those who are not too comfortable with the Janata Dal (U) ceding space to the Rashtriya Janata Dal. BJP leaders say that a national role for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will propel his deputy, Tejashwi Yadav, to the CM’s chair in Bihar and trigger the decline of the JD(U). “In such a scenario, we must keep our options and doors open for joinings from JD(U),” said a senior BJP office-bearer privy to the intra-party conversation.

The BJP’s recalibration of electoral strategy is not just because of its defeat in Karnataka. Last year, the party had increased its list of vulnerable seats from 113 to over 144, as BJP alliances in Maharashtra and Bihar came a cropper. The situation in 2024 will not be the same as in 2019, as some BJP allies, such as the Akali Dal, Shiv Sena (UBT) and JD(U), have left. A relook at who can be brought back into the fold to face 2024 — when the Opposition is planning to field a single candidate to face NDA candidates in many seats — is now on.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.