The National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently one of the most formidable coalitions in the country, seems to be on shaky ground with members like the Telugu Desam Party threatening to withdraw from the alliance.
The cheif Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the President of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), N Chandrababu Naidu, organized a meeting on Sunday with senior party leaders and TDP and MLA deputies to review the party’s alliance with the BJP. In retrospect, Naidu made several calls for additional funds and incentives for Andhra Pradesh before the 2018 Union Budget. However, disappointed with the allocations granted to the state, the TDP has threatened to abandon the alliance with the BJP.
Naidu’s party is third only for the BJP and Shiv Sena in the NDA in terms of seats won in parliament. BJP, which fought in 2014 with TDP as one of its allies, has two MPs and five MLAs from Andhra Pradesh.
With cash-rich Hyderabad, which goes to Telangana after the bifurcation, TDP leaders meanwhile believe that Andhra Pradesh requires additional support from the Center until the state’s income deficit diminishes and its economy becomes operational. After the controversial bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, the denial of special status, the delay in the sanction and the release of funds for the multi-purpose Polavaram multipurpose irrigation project along Godavari, and the lack of funds to develop the state capital Amaravati are some of the reasons that led to a tension in the ties between the two allies.
The TDP, by the way, is not NDA’s first ally to have developed a tense relationship with the BJP. In Maharashtra, Shiv Sena, the second largest NDA member in terms of seats in parliament, expressed his intention to do so only in the upcoming state and Lok Sabha elections. Tension has been boiling between BJP and Sena for some years now. The parties, despite being partners in the Center, have had bitter problems in Maharashtra and the dispute came to light during the last BMC elections when the parties disputed separately.
In the north, not all are well with some of the regional constituents of NDA.
In Bihar, Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and his Rashtriya Lok Samta party, which has three Lok Sabha parliamentarians, recently formed a human chain on issues such as educational reforms and the right to education. Although the partners of the alliance, BJP and JDU, were absent from the event, the main leaders of the RJD, Shivanand Tiwary and Ramchandra Purve, attended, which generated speculation about possible discontent in the alliance.
However, the NDA strengthened its position with the return of Nitish Kumar to the alliance’s fold in July of last year. Although the two parliamentarians of Lok Sabha of JDU may not make a difference in the overall scheme of things, the popularity of Nitish in the state, the performance in state polls and, most importantly, the seven members of JDU Rajya Sabha of his match make him a key ally for the Amit Shah team. Narendra Modi.
Further north, the BJP alliance with the PDP has been under tremendous pressure on a range of problems ranging from civil unrest, militancy and Army operations. The PDP, which has three Lok Sabha seats, is a minor ally in the Center but is formidable in Jammu-Kashmir. In the Northeast, the BJP cut its 15-year alliance with the ruling Naga Popular Front (NPF) after disagreements over the exchange of seats. However, he forged an alliance with the Progressive Democratic Nationalist Party (PNAD) led by former Prime Minister Neiphiu Rio.
Although the BJP enjoys a comfortable majority and can form the government by itself, the next general election is not too far away. When the party lost its goliat status in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gujarat, during the recent polls of the assembly, the message was clear that it would need to strengthen its alliance for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.