On BJP's behalf, Modi reasserts a solitary stance

On BJP's behalf, Modi reasserts a solitary stance

On BJP's behalf, Modi reasserts a solitary stance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rewritten the ground rules for the BJP in Maharashtra and Haryana by criticising political outfits that were being perceived as potential allies, party leaders have said.

In Maharashtra, the prime minister dispelled all talk of the BJP’s potential future with the National Congress Party (NCP) by directly criticising its chief Sharad Pawar. In Haryana, Modi asserted that the BJP would have no business with the Chautalas in a post-poll scenario. BJP leaders read the prime minister’s attack on dynastic politics in Haryana as the party’s firm position against joining hands with the Chautala-dominated Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) or the late Bhajan family represented by Haryana Janhit Congress chief Kuldeep Bishnoi.

They say that Modi had conveyed to BJP president Amit Shah his decision for the party to go it alone long before seat-sharing talks started with Bishnoi in Haryana and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra. The prime minister had rationalised that now was the best time for the BJP to take risks. 

“The BJP could not have decided to contest alone after the flavour of the Lok Sabha victory evaporated. It was now or never and Modi wanted it now,” a party functionary said. 

In fact, Thackeray, too, corroborated this when he broke his silence on why the Shiv Sena's 25-year-old alliance with the BJP snapped. Blaming BJP for breaking the “Hindutva” bond, Thackeray said: “They had decided beforehand to break the alliance.” The Shiv Sena chief accused the BJP of betraying other allies too, in a reference to the collapse of the alliance in Haryana.“Before the Lok Sabha polls, you (BJP) got close to your allies. Later, you decided you did not need them,” he said.

BJP managers believe that Modi is enthused by field reports that the party has chances of emerging the single largest party in Maharashtra and Haryana. The prime minister’s harsh criticisms of Pawar came amid Shiv Sena’s allegations that the BJP had a “secret understanding” with the NCP, which snapped ties with the Congress soon after Thackeray’s outfit and the saffron party called it quits. Now, BJP leaders, particularly those in Maharashtra who have been going soft on Pawar and the NCP while criticising the Congress, have to follow Modi’s stride, albeit reluctantly.

Modi is set to campaign in Pawar’s family bastion of Baramati on October 9, a first-time move to take the NCP chief head-to-head. On the same day, he will also visit Pimpri-Chinchwad, another NCP base.