oppn parties BJP: Playing Haughty Big Brother Does Not Pay

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  • Citizenship Bill to be tabled in the Lok Sabha today. Heated debate likely
  • Domestic tourism in Kashmir slumps by 87% in August-November period
  • Prime Minister Modi says police must make women feel safe
  • West Indies beat India by 8 wickets in the second T20 at Thiruvananthpuram
  • Rahul Gandhi says the NDA government kept Chidambaram in jail for so many days in order to take revenge
  • Kohli reclaims the top spot in ICC rankings from Steve Smith
  • Cabinet clears the Citizenship Bill. It will be placed in the Lok Sabha in a day or two
  • Hindu Jagran Manch members clash with the police in Kolkata after being refused permission to take out a rally
  • West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankar says important files were sent late to him and his delay in signing them draws criticism from the TMC. It also brings the state assembly to a halt
  • 92,000 BSNL & MTNL employees apply for early retirement taking advantage of the new government offer. It will result in an annual savings of Rs 8.700 cr for the merged entity
  • Dengue deaths multiply in Kolkata even as the CM, Mamata Banerjee, asks the opposition not to politicize the matter
  • Government orders inquiry into the breach of security at Priyanka Vadra's house
  • Chennai-based engineer Shanmuga Subramanian helps Nasa find the pieces of Vikram lander on the Moon's surface
  • New Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray says his administration will take back cases against Dalits and activists in the Bhima Koregaon case
  • Dhawan calls his dismissal "nonsense"
43 killed in a fire at units in illegal building in heart of Delhi
oppn parties
BJP: Playing Haughty Big Brother Does Not Pay

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2018-06-06 17:15:06

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Finally, the BJP has discarded its haughty attitude and acknowledged that the allies are miffed with it. Amit Shah is going to meet Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena and Akali Dal leaders to try and bring them around. This was long overdue. The BJP has to realize that being a big pan-India party does not give it a license to ignore the valid demands of allies who have a powerful presence in their home states. Perhaps this realization has dawned after the opposition has managed to unite and defeat the BJP in recent elections. But the allies will also have to keep in mind that the BJP is not going to totally capitulate in the way Congress did in Karnataka. Shah will have to bring them to a middle ground.

The case of Shiv Sena is tricky. Thackeray knows that having the same Hindutva ideology as the base, any quarter given to the BJP in Maharashtra results in the bigger party poaching on its support base. It knows that with time, the BJP is going to reduce it to just some pocket boroughs. For the Sena, opposing the BJP is a fight for its existence. But the Sena also knows that no other big party will forge an alliance with it in Maharashtra. In the absence of an alliance, the Sena will be wiped out in multi-cornered contests. Hence, it has adopted a sulky and defiant attitude. But will this help it? Amit Shah will have to negotiate a deal which keeps the Sena in good humour but does not harm the BJP.

As for the Akalis, they have been discredited for the time being because of the charges of corruption and nepotism during their rule. But public memory is short and the Akalis have displayed time and again that they can bounce back strongly. With AAP’s exuberance in Punjab fizzling out and its vote share reduced to close to NOTA, Punjab will again be a two horse fight. Shah needs to tell the Akalis to undertake a mass contact programme to repair the damage done to their credibility. It is in BJP’s interest to make Akali Dal stronger. Some leeway should be given to the ally to take on Amarinder Singh.

The other allies, like Nitish Kumar and Ram Vilas Paswan also need to be assuaged. Nitish in particular is a valuable ally and with RJD making a comeback in the bypolls, any whiff of disharmony in the alliance is not going to go down well with the electorate. Further, the BJP should also try and win back Chandrababu Naidu and if that is not possible, it should look into the possibility of tying up with YSR Congress of Jagan Reddy. With Karnataka gone, Andhra Pradesh should now form the basis of its southern strategy. Since the Congress has already decided that it is going to fight the YSR Congress and leave Naidu alone, the BJP should work on Jagan Reddy and bring him on board.

Having realized that it does not always pay to play a haughty big brother, the BJP should go all out to win back the trust of the allies to present a united face before the electorate. With important elections coming up in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the party cannot let things to drift. It will be a test of strategy for Amit Shah who is often referred to as the master strategist. If he fails to pacify the allies, he will lose the right to be called that.