As per a senior RSS leader, the BJP needs to win at least one more time.
Keeping in view multiple inputs and surveys that predict a loss of seats in the Hindi belt and eastern states, the BJP is looking to add more parties under the umbrella of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
As of today, apart from the Shiv Sena (Shinde faction) and Rashtriya Lok Jan Shakti Party (Pashupati Paras faction), Apna Dal (Soney Lal faction) and AIADMK, no other major party is a member of the NDA which completed 25 years of its existence on 15 May. It came into existence under the leadership of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani in 1998.
According to BJP leaders, in many states where the BJP did exceedingly well in 2014 and 2019, it might have to face new and larger challenges and this is likely to impact the party’s electoral prospects.
Giving the example of Bihar, a senior party leader said that all the major Opposition parties had come together to defeat the BJP and hence to tackle this, the BJP was likely to induct more regional players into its fold. In the same vein, he added that there was anti incumbency against some MPs, including Union ministers—sitting and former—and most of them will be changed. He pointed out five such seats. The BJP has 17 Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar. The BJP is wooing the outfits of Upendra Kushwaha, Chirag Paswan and Mukesh Shahni in Bihar to counter the Grand Alliance. It is pertinent to mention that the Opposition parties are going to meet in Patna for a grand meeting on 12 June where a formal discussion will take place on how to forge this grand alliance. Party leaders who are going to be a part of this meeting said that the outcome of this meeting will have a significant impact on whether the Opposition will be able to come together to challenge the BJP or not in the next year’s elections. In case this tie-up works out, a BJP candidate will face one single Opposition candidate who will be supported by multiple parties. This challenge has not been ignored by the BJP leadership.
Another important factor that has led to suggestions among the BJP ranks to seek new partners is the feedback that it has received from the ground.
According to party leaders, the BJP, more or less, has reached the maximum it can get on its own in the 2019 elections and hence it would not come as a surprise if it loses on some of these seats in next year’s elections. The leader said that the party was aware of this eventuality and hence it was looking to tie up with regional giants so that they can offset any loss of seats that the BJP may witness in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, among other states.
As per a senior RSS leader, the BJP should win at least one more time (referring to the 2024 elections) as once it does that, then the party and its other arms would have strongly entrenched themselves in the system which will allow them to face electoral defeats easily in the coming years without suffering any permanent damage.
The two major parties that are likely to officially join the NDA in the coming days are the Andhra Pradesh-based YSR Congress and the Telugu Desam Party. Both are political competitors in Andhra Pradesh, but have come together to support the ruling BJP at the Centre on many issues.
However, both these parties have no reach outside their states and hence can help the BJP in the southern region only.