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Run up to elections
Several recent meetings between Janata Dal United (JDU) supremo Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) have triggered speculation about the possible formation of a front ahead of the 2019 general elections. Concerns about losing their core voters and the rising popularity of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is putting pressure on both the leaders. Although both are part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, both want to leverage their position within the NDA — and who knows, might even consider jumping ship to the other side, once elections are a bit closer.
And talking of general elections, murmurs are getting louder that they might be advanced. Top BJP sources say that ultimately the decision is in the hands of party President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi (obviously, as if anyone had suggested anything contrary). But if the monsoon is on time and if rains are uniformly good all over India, there is a chance that elections might be advanced to November. This means that a final decision on this would have to be taken internally in the government latest by July. Sources in the Election Commission have, however, discounted the possibility of early elections because they don’t have the manpower and the electronic voting machines to hold so many assembly elections along with general elections together. Meanwhile, BJP is paying a lot of attention to predictions made by Skymet and the met department.