At a time when some of its allies have quit the National Democratic Alliance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) on Thursday said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is open to alliances and cherished its old friends.
It is likely that the PM, along with BJP chief Amit Shah, could expand on the theme at the BJP’s two-day national council meeting at Ramlila Ground here, from Friday. Nearly 12,000 BJP leaders from across the country are set to attend the meeting, to be addressed by Modi, Shah and others.
The national council could adopt a political and an economic resolution. Party workers will expect the resolutions to address the BJP’s recent electoral defeats, its views on the agrarian and rural distress, the contentious National Register of Citizens (NRC), and the Citizenship Bill.
In an interaction with party booth-level workers in Tamil Nadu through video conferencing on Thursday, Modi recalled the “successful coalition politics” ushered in by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the 1990s. The PM’s reply was to a question from a party worker as to whether the BJP would ally with the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) or Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, who is yet to form his political party.
In Tamil Nadu itself, the BJP has lost five of its allies since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. These include the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Vijayakanth’s Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) and Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK).
Others to have quit the NDA since then are Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan-led Jana Sena Party, Kerala’s Revolutionary Socialist Party (Bolshevik), the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustan Awami Morcha in Bihar, West Bengal’s Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, and the Kuldeep Bishnoi-led Haryana Janhit Congress.
In the last few months, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), too, have quit the NDA. The Shiv Sena has warned it may walk out of the NDA, as have Meghayala CM Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party and Uttar Pradesh’s Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party.