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Battle of alliances: BJP takes early lead over rivals in securing partners

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Having firmed up alliances in several key states for the polls, the has taken an early lead over its rivals, including the Congress, for an election where every single percentage point of votes brought in by small partners can have significant bearing on final results.

While the has had uneasy relations at times with some of its allies, many leaders feel the has walked the extra mile to ensure they remained in the ruling by offering them a generous seat-sharing deal, as in Bihar, and by accommodating most of their concerns.

In a big state like also, where the has remained a so far, it has risen into reckoning by stitching an alliance with the ruling AIADMK and by working on smaller Dravidian parties to join the NDA.

In states like Bihar, Maharshtra and and where combination of allies will be crucial, a BJP-led alliance is already in place while the is still working out finer deals with its partners.

The main opposition party has been squeezed out of the SP-BSP 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) in UP, which may help the BJP in the politically most crucial state where swing of a few percentage of votes can swing the poll pendulum to the other side.

BJP's two allies in -- Apna Dal and -- have been airing their grievances with their bigger partner but the saffron party leaders have expressed confidence that they will remain in the NDA fold.

The opposition's grand alliance in Bihar, which has as many as 40 constituencies, remains an unfinished task due to differences among parties like Lalu Prasad-led RJD, Congress, Upendra Kushwaha-led RLSP and Jitan HAM over their respective seat demands.

On the other hand, the three NDA constituents in -- BJP, JD(U) and Ram Vilas Paswan-led LJP -- have already announced that they will fight 17, 17 and six seats, respectively, in the state.

The BJP had in 2014 contested on 31 seats in and bagged 22, but agreed to give up its claim on even its winning seats to accommodate Kumar, who had fought against the party in the last

The difference between the BJP and the Opposition lies in commonality of purpose that the saffron alliance has unlike its rivals, who have "no clarity over leadership" and they seek power for the sake of it, the ruling party's said.

"Under we have clarity about leadership and our agenda that is based on development," he said.

In Maharashtra, the BJP and have agreed to fight 25 and 23 seats respectively. The Sena had been threatening to go solo but was brought around with an offer of more seats for the party in the as well assembly polls.

The is yet to finalise a seat-sharing deal with its ally NCP and also with its partner JD(S) in

A senior said the party will discuss the issue of alliances in its CWC (Congress Working Committee) meeting in on Tuesday and will finalise them in the coming days.

The Lok Sabha elections for 543 seats will be held over seven phases, beginning April 11 and ending May 19, while results would be announced on May 23.

BJP's said, "We had won a majority on our in 2014, but we still gave due respect to our allies. While alliances of opposition parties are all about leaders, seats and their anti-Modi ideology, BJP's alliance percolates down to our workers and supporters."

"The opposition's alliance is in bad shape everywhere due to its negative agenda, while our alliances are based on the positive message of development and stron leadership," he said.

The BJP has also managed to keep all major non-Congress regional parties in north-eastern states in the NDA fold.

However, the BJP has failed to seal alliances in some states such as and Telangana, through its leaders feel some key players in these two states might veer towards the NDA after the elections.

As per the party's internal calculations, Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress, the main challenger to the ruling TDP in Andhra, and the incumbent in neighbouring Telangana, are more likely to join the BJP-led alliance if more allies are required in a post-poll scenario.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 11 2019. 19:18 IST