BJP and its allies are set to face at least three alliances at national level, including one national alliance of UPA partners led by the Congress party. NDA will also face multi-state pre-poll alliance of SP-BSP and another third front mooted by TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao.
Lok Sabha Elections 2019! BJP leadership is busy stitching up strong alliances ahead of crucial Lok Sabha elections where it is looking to retain power at the Centre. Though there is no finality on pre-poll alliances, it is expected that there will be at least three national coalitions in place. BJP, which had a simple majority on its own in the last elections, may not be able to do a repeat act. So it will be crucial for the party to have strong alliances. BJP national executive member R Seshadri Chari spoke to Financial Express Online on the need and relevance of alliances with regional players in the context of Lok Sabha election. Edited Excerpt:
Q: BJP has been firming up its alliances with regional parties. Why it is important for the party to rope in more regional parties in its alliance this time?
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A: These alliances with regional parties are very important in a federal polity like India. Regional parties best represent local identity but by virtue of a unitary federal constitution they need representation as no regional party can form government at the centre on its own. It is important for national parties to forge alliance with them so that regional aspirations and identities are protected and they are represented at the Centre also. It is also important for regional parties to form an alliance with a national party they think that will win in the Lok Sabha elections.
Q: Whether the party prefers pre-poll alliance or post-poll alliances?
A: Forming alliance is very important for political parties either before the elections or after the elections. It is always better to have a pre-poll alliance rather than have a post poll alliance because the bargaining power of parties increases post elections.
Q: Whether the party has been more assertive with it allies in NDA II than it has been in NDA I?
A: In 2014, BJP had alliance with Shiv Sena and Akali Dal and we had alliance with almost 40 parties. The fact that the BJP got 282 seats on its own but despite that it ran an NDA government speaks volumes for the value that we attach to our allies. NDA government this time too was not a BJP government.
Q: BJP has been very assertive with Shiv Sena on the issue of post of chief minister of Maharashtra, what led to this change of heart this time?
A: That was because the party (BJP) won decisively and it was Shiv Sena which parted ways with the BJP and paid a heavy price, now they have realised that there is no point in fighting separately so they have come back. It suits the BJP also.
Q: Which are the other states where BJP is looking to forge alliances?
A: We are thinking of forming an alliance in North East. In Sikkim we have formed an alliance. North-East also. Sikkim alliance is done. We have also been looking for alliances in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.
Q: What kind of regional political parties are you looking at?
A: We will look for parties in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and in Kerala also. But the regional parties have to strong enough to win seats on their own and they should be strong enough to transfer their votes to BJP.
Q: What about your alliance in Uttar Pradesh? Will you again ally with old partners like Apna Dal, Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party?
A: Ultimately we will have an alliance in Uttar Pradesh. But you have to see that just because we need an ally does not mean that we can ally with any party. We will have to see the capability of the respective parties to transfer their votes to BJP and it is to be based on mutual strength.