The Expanding NDA

Shri Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party has decided to ally with the BJP and be a part of the NDA. Additionally, a large number of political leaders, eminent citizens and political groups are extending their support to the BJP either by coming to the party or aligning with the NDA. The groundswell in support of the BJP/NDA and Narendra Modi is clearly visible.

When certain political groups identify themselves with the NDA their area of influence may be confined to a particular State. However, their joining sends a larger political signal. When the BJP announced Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate the first reaction of some friends in the media and political observers was that the party would now find it difficult to get allies. They felt that the party would be politically isolated. When there is a groundswell of support, a party can even live in a ‘splendid isolation’. However, that was never to be. A strong BJP has capacity to attract more friends and allies than a weaker BJP. This groundswell of support which is visible in the BJP rallies is the game changer. It sends a message loud and clear of which way the wind is blowing. Today, those who had left the BJP in States like Gujarat and Karnataka have all returned adding to strength of the party. In states like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Bihar and Tamil Nadu we have significant allies. There are several states in which electoral tie-ups before the elections or political tie-ups after the elections are both possible and probable.

I had always believed that a strong BJP will lead to a stronger NDA. How to strengthen the NDA requires a lesson from Atalji’s book. A three party NDA in 1996 became a 24-party NDA in 1998. To attract regional allies, one has to accept and respect India’s federal and diverse character. What is significant today is a combination of popular support, increasing number of allies and the social character of the expanding alliance. All this signals a new change.

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