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India BJP’s Position To Get More Precarious?

Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
BJP’s position to get more precarious?

Wednesday, 07 March 2012 22:35 Monika | Chandigarh

The BJP seems not to be in a position to dictate terms to its ally Akali Dal in the new Government, the way it was in 2007 when the party won 19 seats.

For, its three-decade-old ally — the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — has managed to romp up its winning score at 56, just three short of majority in the 117 members State Assembly.

In 2007 polls, despite losing seats in Malwa region, SAD had formed the Government with the help of the BJP. While BJP had won 19 seats, SAD had won 49 seats with the halfway mark being 59. But this time, the SAD is in a “comfortable” position with three Independents making it to the Vidan Sabha — two of which are Akali rebels, and third being Congress’ dissident.

Though, in whispers, senior BJP functionaries candidly admit, off the record, that the party’s position this time would be even more precarious. “The party would apparently not find itself in a commanding position, with the SAD bagging almost sufficient number of seats for forming the government,” admitted a senior BJP leader.

Even during its previous tenure, the party virtually remained out of power even with 19 seats to its credit. Though BJP got five cabinet berths other than the posts of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries (CPS), it was categorically denied the post of deputy chief minister.

Moreover, the party had blamed the SAD for not keeping its promise of sharing power at 60:40 ratio.

The fall in its number of seats may result in dip in its number of cabinet berths too — something which many senior leaders too admitted, “unofficially”.

“Last time, there were confrontation regarding number of cabinet berths…and with less seats and SAD in comfortable position, it may or may not happen. May we, this time, we may get four instead of five,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.

The problems came when the BJP demanded the post of deputy chief minister, for which the then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal was not keen, and, apparently, wanted to keep it for his son Sukhbir. Differences also emerged over allocation of number of berths and then allocation of portfolios. But, the same were resolved, over time, with the intervention of the BJP Central leadership.

Maintaining that “numbers don’t matter” for the tried and tested coalition, party’s state co-incharge Capt Abimanyu said: “The relationship has been into a lot of thick and thin. After going through together from a lot of good and bad times, we supported each other, and never put extra burned on them. Numbers don’t matter for us, what matter is good governance.” Out of 23 seats, BJP has bagged 12 seats, while many of its heavyweights dwindling. People of the State did not repose faith on Tikshan Sud, Satpal Gosain, Arunesh Shakir, Rajinder Bhandari, and Raj Khurana.

Even though, the party’s leadership is “satisfied” with its performance in recently-held polls. Considered to be an “underdog” and contributing to incumbent Government’s exit few months before the polls, BJP has managed, to a great extent, to bring into line its party cadre well before the polls. Poll analysts had, initially, given not more than six seats for the ‘saffron party’. They projected that repeating the previous performance or even reaching close to it seemed highly unlikely for the BJP —though it pulled off.

“There was a fear of anti-incumbency in the party. And then factionalism plus corruption charges had further eroded hopes of a repeat of the performance of 2007 elections. But we managed,” said another senior leader.




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