Keeping the ‘special’ powder dry

The question now is how long will JD(U) and TDP wait? Both had acrimonious separations with the NDA earlier before their return to the BJP-led alliance.
Last Updated : 06 July 2024, 00:43 IST

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The BJP and the I.N.D.I.A. are eagerly watching every move made by N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP and Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) ever since the Lok Sabha election results sank in on June 4. Both parties belied the expectations of the Opposition when they chose not to indulge in political pyrotechnics during the government formation exercise.

Now, the question is when they are going to break their silence and start the hard bargains that have the potential to end the smooth sailing of the government. While their wishlist for ministerial posts was minimal, they have made some customary noises around the Special Category Status for Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

The JD(U) National Executive met in Delhi to pass a resolution seeking Special Category Status for Bihar while Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday with a list of demands for his state.

The Special Category Status for Bihar and Andhra Pradesh was a campaign theme for both JD (U) and TDP. But as the Union government has done away with such classification, the leaders now say what their states need is more funds from the Centre, no matter what the nomenclature is.

The question now is how long will JD(U) and TDP wait? Both had acrimonious separations with the NDA earlier before their return to the BJP-led alliance. TDP had in 2018 withdrawn support for the NDA and even brought a no-confidence motion over the government not giving Special Category Status as promised in Parliament during the bifurcation of the state.

JD(U), which went out and came into NDA more than once, too periodically raised the demand for Special Category Status for Bihar. Both parties are waiting for the Budget to be presented later this month by the new government.

The Opposition has already started preparing ground to put pressure on both. Before the government formation, sources said, the Congress had reached out to the TDP with a promise to grant Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh if it supported I.N.D.I.A to form the government.

Congress General Secretary (Communications) Jairam Ramesh reminded Modi of his promise of granting Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh. Referring to the JD(U) resolution, he also asked Nitish Kumar whether he summoned the courage to get a similar resolution passed by the state cabinet too.

“Will the chief minister of Bihar walk the talk? And what about TDP in its new innings? Why has it not yet passed such a resolution for Andhra Pradesh, a promise emphasised by the non-biological PM in the holy city of Tirupati on April 30, 2014,” Ramesh said.

However, the Opposition is also not burning the bridges with these parties with acerbic statements.

They believe that the Assembly election results in Maharashtra, Haryana, and Jharkhand, if favourable to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, would start a political churn and it could reach a crescendo around Bihar polls next year.

The review of Lok Sabha results by the CPI(M) sums up the mood in the Opposition camp: “Much, however, will depend on how the developments will unfold in the days to come. The principal BJP allies in the NDA, the TDP, and the JDU, are primarily preoccupied and focused on controlling their respective states and consolidating their positions there. People, therefore, have to keep a strict vigil and follow the developments and contradictions that will surface in the NDA”.

Published 06 July 2024, 00:43 IST

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