Partners & possibles in BJP’s target 272
Its eye on the prime minister’s chair for Narendra Modi, yet not certain of a majority of its own, the BJP has set about forging and looking for alliances, state by state, in its quest for 272 seats. A look at who are or could be with the BJP in nine of those states (counting Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as one), which together account for 255 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats:
Raj factor: Maharashtra
The BJP has forged a five-party alliance, Mahayuti, with the Shiv Sena, the RPI, the Swabhimani Paksha and the Rashtriya Samaj Paksha. Additionally, to prevent a split in the anti-UPA vote, the BJP is trying to convince Raj Thackeray not to field MNS candidates.
In 2009, the BJP and the Shiv Sena won 20 of 48 seats between them while the Swabhimani Paksha, then not in the alliance, won one. The Congress-NCP alliance has 25 seats in a state where it is in power; the Mahayuti is hoping for anti-incumbency accumulated over three terms.
Naidu an option: Andhra pradesh
N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP made several overtures to the BJP in the run-up to the passage of the Telangana Bill. Since then, the TDP has gone quiet, apparently putting on the BJP the onus of taking the initiative for an alliance, or possibly preferring to wait until after the polls. With the TRS in Telangana rejecting a merger with Congress, the BJP senses a window of opportunity there too, but again only after the polls.
The BJP had won four of 42 seats in 1998 and seven in 1999, in alliance with the TDP. It has been routed since they parted ways in 2004.
Paswan won over: Bihar
The BJP-JD(U) alliance in 2009 won 32 of 40 seats, but the parting of ways made the BJP look vulnerable given the JD(U)’s base among the backward castes and Dalits — until the BJP forged alliances with Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP and Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP. The BJP will contest 30 seats, twice as many as in 2009, with the rest shared between the LJP (seven) and the RLSP (three).
Vaiko Done, DMK a teaser: Tamil Nadu
The BJP has sealed an alliance with Vaiko’s MDMK, is moving forward in talks with the PMK, and is waiting for a final word from the DMDK. The BJP is wary of initiating a dialogue on its own with the DMK given that the 2G scam is linked to the party, though DMK chief Karunanidhi has tempted the BJP by praising Narendra Modi.
In 1998, the BJP won three seats of 39 in alliance with the AIADMK, part of the most successful combination; in 1999 it bagged four in alliance with continued…