ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Contours of a Coalition

Future political alignments remain in fl ux in the run-up to the 2019 general elections.

Just a month back, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) election machine, helmed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah, appeared invincible. Saffron replaced the strongly entrenched red of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in Tripura, and the BJP succeeded in forging alliances to form governments in Meghalaya and Nagaland. Yet within weeks, the winds changed as BJP candidates bit the dust in the parliamentary by-elections to Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh(UP) Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s constituency, and Phulpur, that of his deputy. Electoral maths, most political pundits concluded, had done the trick with the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) coming together to defeat the saffron party. Even if this is not the entire story, it is clear that these results injected a new energy into the opposition as talks began of alliances for the 2019 general elections. Yet, it is unclear whether this heralds the beginning of a significant change in the domination of the BJP and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). There is also the question of where the Congress party fits in the new/old alliances being stitched together.

What is evident is that several new options have opened up for the opposition. One is the formation of a non-BJP, non-Congress front. Initially, the BJP appeared unperturbed by such an eventuality for it calculated that this would have the potential to split the Congress party’s votes. But the Congress is not the only problem for the BJP. In Karnataka, for instance, which will vote in April–May, the BJP is still struggling to get a foothold in the southern districts where the Janata Dal (Secular) is strong. Despite the induction of former Congressman S M Krishna, the BJP has not been able to reach out to the Vokkaligas from whom caste loyalties to the Gowdas override Hindu sentiments.

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Updated On : 29th Mar, 2018
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