Tough road ahead for BJP
It is not going to be easy for the BJP-led NDA this time around.
It is not going to be easy for the BJP-led NDA this time around. In 2014, the NDA was a conglomerate of around 29 parties; this time it has 41 parties, brought together by the Modi-Shah duo ignoring past insults, ceding space and seats, and putting its traditional issues on the backburner to enhance the NDA's chances.
It has given the NDA a psychological edge at a time when Mahagathbandhan is nothing but a dream. It has allies in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala and Northeast, while the Congress continues to live in a time-wrap, haggling on seats and petty issues.
To win friends, the BJP has not only sacrificed seats and issues but also ignored insults heaped on Modi. It is contesting mere five seats in Tamil Nadu and 17 in Bihar, the State where it won 22 seats on its own in 2014.
It is on good terms with YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Rashtra Samiti supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, increasing its post-poll prospects.
The BJP is also taking care not to upset the vote banks of allies and has thus put on hold the controversial poll planks like Article 370, Uniform Civil Code and the Citizenship Amendment Bill, though party leaders say one should wait for the 'sankalp patra'— the 2019 manifesto — before "jumping to any conclusions".
The Hindutva issue is being kept alive through poster boys like Yogi Adityanath, Vinay Katiyar, Keshav Prasad Maurya, but in order to appear inclusive and as non-controversial as possible, the resolution of the Ram Mandir issue has been left to mediation and the court.
Anand Rao M, Hyderabad