New Delhi: BJP’s desperation is speaking for itself. As the election time draws closer—for five state assemblies around November-December this year and the Lok Sabha polls early next year—the saffron party is doing all it can to remain in power. It caused split in the NCP in Maharashtra, the second biggest state after UP in terms of number of Lok Sabha seats. Similar attempt is believed to be underway in Bihar, the third biggest state with 40 Lok Sabha seats.
The BJP struck Sharad Pawar, the seniormost among the Opposition leaders who can play crucial role in the unity efforts. Now he is left bruised after the NCP split and forced to confine himself to Maharashtra in what has become an internecine fight with his nephew Ajit Pawar. The BJP is said to be attempting to drive a wedge between JD (U) and RJD in Bihar, the two dominant parties who, along with Congress, are expected to become formidable force in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh’s surprise meeting with Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar in Patna recently is being seen as a step in that direction. Observers say Harivansh could not have met Nitish Kumar on his own after the latter’s distancing with the Deputy Chairman amid growing mistrust and suspicion between the two.
Lately, ED has sought to implicate Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav in the land-for-job scam in which his father and RJD supremo Lalu Yadav is facing action as former Railway Minister. Both Nitish and Tejaswi are in the forefront of unity efforts.
While the eyes of the BJP leaders are rivetted on Maharashtra and Bihar for political moves, the Government is engaged in flurry of inaugurations and programs aimed at attracting voters. The immediate attention is on Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the two major states headed for assembly polls along with Chhatisgarh, and tiny Mizoram later this year.
BJP’s desperation is understandable. Reports from both Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh are said to be unfavorable for the party with Congress looking up under former CM Kamal Nath and incumbent Congress CM Bhupesh Baghel well ensconced to take on BJP.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh is fighting anti-incumbency and is said to be getting no free hand because of overpowering central leadership, resulting in sense of frustration.
Rajasthan may not be a walk-over either for the BJP, with internal squabbles pushing the party downward. There is no clarity yet if former CM and influential state BJP leader Vasundhara Raje will be declared chief ministerial candidate ahead of the assembly elections. Conversely, Congress too is showing signs of unity lately, buoyed by its success in Karnataka.
There is lurking fear within the BJP that the party may not do well in state elections. However, the party leadership thinks that the Parliamentary elections will go in its favour, provided the Opposition is not allowed to unite . The Modi charisma may not be enough this time, it is felt by some in the party. Hence, the BJP has upped the ante, leaving nothing to chance.
It is in this background that the top leadership of the BJP is said to be toying with the idea of making changes both in the organization and the government. There is speculation about changes in the council of ministers as well. In that case, this would be the last and final reshuffle before the party goes to the national polls early next year.