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Mudda discusses possible migration of ruling party allies to grand coalition ahead of 2019 general election; it’s not too late for NDA, say speakers

RJD’s Tejaswi Yadav has thrown an open invitation to Rashtriya Lok Samata Party chief Upendra Kushwaha to leave NDA and join his party. President of Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party Om Prakash Rajbhar who is part of the UP government ruling alliance has also from time to time expressed his displeasure with BJP. The ties between Shiv Sena and BJP in Maharashtra have also broken up. All this poses the question, is NDA falling apart one year before the 2019 general election? Will the BJP’s Sampark and Samarthan Abhiyan work out?

Saturday’s edition of Mudda attempted to answer this question. Participants included Anshul Awasthi (Congress), Subhash Savant (Shiv Sena), Kailash Yadav (RJD) and Ashok Thakur (BJP) apart from senior journalist Govind Pant Raju. The discussion was anchored by Akshay Singh Gaur.

“It will be a challenge for BJP to keep all forces together, given their competing ambitions in different parts of India, especially as there is absence of a sutradhar (compere) at the central stage. It is, after all, an opportunist alliance,” said Raju.

All is well in NDA, insisted Thakur. “As Raju was saying, as far as Bihar is concerned, the arrival of Nitish Kumar has changed equations a bit. But the party is taking steps. Tejaswi’s invite is a sign of his own crisis. A coalition won’t work as there is no common ideology or agenda,” he said.

Tejaswi has asked all parties with similar programmes to come together. BJP has never respected its allies. The time has come for them to leave BJP, said kailash Yadav. Even though the BJP had a clear majority in the last general elections, we gave portfolios to our allies. Despite this if RLSP chief Upendra Kushwaha wants to join forces with RLD, he is free to do so, Thakur responded. He also said that BJP has been strengthened by the arrival of Nitish Kumar and JD(U). Awasthi disagreed, citing bypoll losses. He said that be it TDP or Akali Dal or Shiv Sena, all allies are dissatisfied with BJP.  NDA is a sinking ship, he added.

Subhash Savant maintained that Uddhav Thackeray will take a call on whether the Shiv Sena will fight the general elections with BJP or not. But Shiv Sena is strong and has its own works and agendas.

Raju said, “This is politics of convenience. Ideology and agenda or even a common minimum programme is basically just small talk. Each party will choose its side as per its perceived electoral gain in the situation. In politics, there is no permanent friend or enemy. So if BJP takes corrective measures, its allies will be seen walking back to them.”

—Compiled by Sucheta Dasgupta

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