BJP forms panel to win allies back

Written by Mukesh Ranjan | New Delhi, Sept 2 | Updated: Sep 3 2007, 06:45am hrs
Spurred by the possibility of mid-term elections in the country and also keeping in view the inability of the party to keep alliance partners like Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress in the NDA, the BJP has formed a panel of senior leaders to deal with the issues of existing alliance and also identify prospective partners at the regional level.

At the core committee meeting of the BJP on Friday, the leaders felt that the partys ties with its 2004 allies are not in a shape to throw a formidable challenge. It was felt that, it would be near impossible for the party to regain power at the Centre without effective pre-poll regional alliances, who could add to the partys vote-catching strength. In the 2004 general elections, the party had paid heavy price for not keeping intact its alliances in many states.

The partys five-member panel consists of Murli M Joshi, M Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitely, Sushma Swaraj and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Known for his good rapport with leaders of regional parties, Joshi is entrusted to anchor the panel in its effort to win friends, whereas Jaitley, famous for his winning strategies, is expected to lure regional forces and broad base the NDA.

Naidu, who is considered to be a formidable south Indian leader in the BJP, will go the whole hog to win alliances back in the south. Persuasive Swaraj will focus on those north India regional parties, which were with NDA during its rule.

Naqvi has a special role to play, as he is considered to be close to Mayawti. Desparate to have either the SP or BSP to its side in the state, but at the same time knowing well that SP would never come to the NDA fold, the party has put him on the job to win back UP chief minister in the backdrop of her recent outburst against the Congress.

As far as alliances are concerned, we are looking at state level. First we will concentrate on those states, where we have alliances with troubles brewing and then we will look for fresh opportunity, a senior party leader said. The panel will begin its exercise in Maharashtra and West Bengal, where the party has developed some acrimony with Shiv Sena and Trinamool Congress.

The attempts would first be made to resolve the differences, but if nothing works out, the panel has the liberty to look for other options, the leader said.