To some, it seems a forgone conclusion that Bharatiya Janata Party is not going to perform well in the way it had believed in the states going for the polls soon. While the fight in Assam is triangular, the situation in Bengal has not improved for the party as it would have liked it to. In several other states, the non-BJP parties will have to come together to challenge the surge of the Modi-led high-octane team.
After the victory of BJP in the Parliamentary elections, and its drubbing in the Bihar Assembly elections, every political party has started striking alliances in order to stop the BJP’s surge in their respective states. Whether it is NCP in Maharashtra, Janta Dal (U) and RJD in Bihar, Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh or Left, each one of them has gone for the alliance compromise; most seem to be now under the belief that either they have to strike alliances with regional parties or they’ll have to strike an alliance with the Congress at the national and state level.
Tariq Anwar, General Secretary of NCP, while talking to The Sunday Indian, said, “The rise of Bharatiya Janata Party will one day turn into its decline as well. However, this party can stoop down to any level to win an election, and that includes dividing the society on communal lines. Under the circumstances, if Bharatiya Janata Party has to be stopped in the states, regional and secular minded parties will have to come together.”
The preparations for the next general elections are dicey to say the least. There is an emerging scenario where lots of regional parties will strike alliances with the Congress to stop the BJP. This might even lead to the so-called ‘Two-Party System.’ It is expected that BJP will bring several tricks from its armour in the run-up to the polls. There is a sudden environment of secrecy surrounding its internal functioning. Even Tariq Anwar admits that it is difficult to fathom the party’s strategy. Whatever strategy that the party is planning is privy to merely a handful of people.
Tariq Anwar’s plain-speak might be surprising, but is true. Anyone taking the BJP for granted is basically underestimating the party. If regional parties have to sacrifice and lose some ground, in order to strike a workable alliance, it is still in their interest to go with it. This has been proven beyond doubt in Bihar where an alliance between RJD and JD (U) performed remarkably. If anything, it has also propelled JD (U) significantly in the national scenario.
To defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party, all secular-minded parties shall have to join forces
Arun Kumar Srivastava, General Secretary, Janta Dal (United)
Looking at the political calculations, it appears that the polls in Uttar Pradesh will be the most crucial one. Will Mulayam Singh be pressured to come together with non-BJP parties?
Following Bihar, the elections in Uttar Pradesh will be the biggest political challenge. There’s no doubt about it. Not only will this election decide the fate of Bharatiya Janata Party, it will also be a litmus test for the SP. I am sure that taking the cue from Bihar, there will be a huge political formation there comprising non-BJP parties. JD (U) chief Sharad Yadav and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will have a big role to play in bringing these parties together. As of now, we cannot be sure if Mulayam Singh will come with us or not, as he ditched us at a crucial moment in the Bihar elections. We’ll probably have an understanding with Congress in UP, but I am not sure as of now about Samajwadi Party. There are no permanent friends and enemies in politics. As of now we are looking at a scenario where Ajit Singh’s Lok Dal and Peace Party will be merged with JD (U) and contest the election on one symbol. An understanding has been reached on this issue and we are looking at the implementation now.
How is JD (U) planning its national strategy post Bihar elections?
Of the states going for poll, we’ll be aligning with AUDF in Assam and will be helping the Congress-Left alliance against Mamta Banerjee in West Bengal. In Kerala, one of our members got the Rajya Sabha seat with the help of Congress and we plan to stick with this alliance.
How do you asess JD (U)’s role in the upcoming 2019 General Elections?
The 2019 elections are a huge challenge. There can be no doubt about this in any way. To defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party, all the secular minded parties will have to come together and pose a combined challenge. I believe that Janta Dal United shall have a huge role to play in this coming together of secular minded parties. The elections in Bihar have shown that if secular parties can come together, they can fight the communal strategy and money might of BJP. Under the circumstances, whoever thinks otherwise will suffer. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will now start his active role in national politics and will look at strategies to stop Narendra Modi from becoming Prime Minister again.