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  • Government plans to change laws to make Aadhar voluntary to open a bank account or get a mobile connection
  • MP CM Kamal Nath says that incentives will be given only to those companies that hire a minimum of 70% of their manpower from local people of the state
  • Chhattisgarh CM says SIT will be set up to probe the Bastar massacre which killed top Congress leaders in the state in May 2013
  • Farm loan waiver spree: Both Kamal Nath, MP CM and Bhupesh Baghel, Chhattisgarh CM, waive loans given to farmers
  • Government expands Ujjwala scheme, in which free LPG connection was till now provided to BPL families, to include all poor families
  • Former Congress leader Sajjan Kumar gets life imprisonment in the 1984 Sikh massacre case in Delhi
  • India will host the Maldives President Ibrahim Solih on a three-day state visit from today
  • Triple talaq bill to be placed in LS today
  • Trains suspended, highways closed as separatists plan stir at Army camp in J&K
  • M K Stalin proposes Rahul Gandhi as leader of united front of opposition parties
  • Bhupesh Baghel to be Chhattisgarh CM, to take oath on Monday
  • NGT orders reopening of Sterlite's Tuticorin plant. TN may challenge the order in SC
  • Bengal government denies permission to BJP to hold a rath yatra in the state, citing adverse intelligence reports about chances of communal disturbances
  • Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, chairman of PAC, says AG and CAG would be summoned before the committe over Rafale deal. Majority of other members refuse to toe the line
  • Congress high command still not able to decide on Chhattisgarh CM, may announce the name tomorrow
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Allies and In-House Critics Bombard BJP

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

When times are bad, things start going wrong from all angles. Even as the BJP is recovering from electoral reverses, some of its allies have started making discordant notes. The Shiv Sena first decided to break the alliance. Then, the TDP was miffed when promises were not fulfilled in the budget. Now, the Akali Dal has questioned the step-motherly treatment being meted out to the allies. In the north-east, the alliance with the Naga People’s Front is all but over and the BJP has a new partner in the newly-formed NDPP. To top all this, in-house critics like Yashwant Sinha and Shatrughan Sinha have upped the ante and have formed a morcha to highlight farmer distress, among other things. Even the RSS is said to be unhappy with the way the government is being run. The BJP is being pounded from all sides.

In better times, the party could have afforded to brush these aside as rumblings of frustrated people. But electoral reverses in recent times, especially the massive swing away from it in Rajasthan, makes it necessary for the party to shed its lofty attitude and assuage the feelings of the allies. Recent polls have indicated that while the NDA will come back if polls are held now, they have also shown that the BJP might not get a majority on its own. Hence, it is required that the party keeps the allies in good humour.

It is not possible for the BJP to bring the Shiv Sena back into the fold as for the Sena it has become a question of survival. It has found that the alliance with the BJP is eating into both its cadre base and its vote bank. Since both parties are Hindutva based with not much to differentiate them and since the BJP is bigger and has more resources, it is quietly carving out a strong base in Sena bastions. Since the Sena cannot play the regional card too much (that space is occupied by Raj Thackeray’s MNS), it has to assert its individuality by breaking away from the big brother, especially since the party is infusing new thinking with Aditya Thackeray taking over the reins.

The TDP has been brought in line for the moment, but that is more due to the fact that the party is in a dilemma. The BJP is hanging the Jagan Congress sword over its head. Jagan Reddy has said that his party will not hesitate to ally with the BJP should the centre grant special status to Andhra Pradesh. State BJP leaders feel that the TDP is trying to weaken the party in the state. Hence, they feel than an alliance with Jagan Reddy will be better. Chandrababu Naidu knows this and will hence show dissent for public consumption but will toe the BJP line. With the picture in Karnataka not looking too rosy for the BJP, it needs Naidu to keep the flag flying in the south.

As for the Akalis, they are still licking their wounds after a massive defeat in the assembly polls. The BJP has suffered more in Punjab due to its alliance with the Akalis who ran a corrupt government in the state. Although the BJP does not have the organizational strength to go it alone, it needs to tell the Akalis to mend their ways and set their own house in order.

Finally, although party spokesmen have said that the BJP will not suspend both the Sinhas, one feels that if they continue their morcha, there will come a time when the party will have to act. Otherwise, the rank and file will get agitated. Also, it will embolden other critics within the party to join them. Hence, it is in the party’s favour to take disciplinary action against them.

Amit Shah has to tackle these situations with a lot of tact. Since becoming party president, the only tough times he faced were in the Bihar and Gujarat elections. But now he has too much on his plate. A lot has been heard about his cunning and guile. These are the times when they will be put to test. Any failure on his part will mean that the road to 2019 will be full of thorns.

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