By Rahil Nora Chopra
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2024, the BJP is in talks for alliance with the disgruntled JDU leader Upendra Kushwaha, the chief of Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), Mukesh Sahani, as well as with the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) leader, Chirag Paswan. In this context BJP’s Bihar unit president, Sanjay Jaiswal, met Upendra Kushwaha and had a closed-door meeting, lasting half an hour. As per reliable sources, Jaiswal communicated the message of BJP top leadership to Kushwaha. Earlier, Kushwaha, had been praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sharing that it will be very difficult for the opposition parties to remove him from power in 2024. The buzz is that before the announcement of alliance between LJP and BJP, Union Minister and president of Rashtriya Lok Janshakti Party (RLJP) Pashupati Kumar Paras will be merging his party with his estranged nephew Chirag Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas). The RLJP has five members in the Lok Sabha from Bihar. The erstwhile LJP had won six seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha election in Bihar. But after a split in the LJP, five MPs went with Paras-led RLJP, while Ram Vilas Paswan’s only son Chirag Paswan remained the lone MP of the LJP (Ram Vilas).
RICHA SINGH KNOCKS EC DOOR SAYING EXPULSION FROM SP UNJUST
Ever since the former Samajwadi Party leader Richa Singh was expelled from the party, she has been looking for a new political home. Rumour mill doing rounds say that Richa Singh is hobnobbing with BJP leaders. Meanwhile, Singh has written to the Election Commission of India, urging the poll panel to take action against the Samajwadi Party. Singh claims that the SP has violated the party’s constitution by taking action against her without issuing a showcause notice. In her letter to the EC, Singh claimed that on February 16, the SP unilaterally announced her expulsion without putting forth an explanation, prior warning or even a showcause notice.
KARNATAKA CONGRESS STILL BEDRAGGLED BY SIDDA-DK INFIGHTING
In Karnataka, the Congress’s major concern remains the infighting, despite the assembly elections being around the corner, slated in April-May. Discussions are on about who would lead the party in the polls and, subsequently, the government, in case the Congress manages to win in the southern state. Leadership debates were triggered by the loyalists of Siddaramaiah, who expect him to head the next government. However, supporters of the state Congress president DK Shivakumar, don’t seem to take it lightly either. The two groups have since been issuing statements on why the Congress high command should pick their respective leaders as the next chief ministerial candidate. Amused by this, Koratagere MLA and former CM G Parameshwara has joked, “I also want to become the chief minister. Firstly, the Congress party should be brought to power in the state. Later, the party high command will decide who should become the chief minister.”
UDDHAV FACTION’S LOSS OF POLL SYMBOL MAY HELP NCP GAIN GROUND
After Election Commission (EC) recognising the Eknath Shinde group as the official Shiv Sena, and allowing them to use the Sena poll symbol of bow and arrow, the Maha Vikas Aghadhi allies, i.e., the Congress, NCP and the Shiv Sena (UBT) have pledged to continue the flag of unity and collectively contest in all the forthcoming elections under the MVA banner. However, the loss of name and symbol may hamper the expansion plans of Uddhav Thackeray’s party. Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Sharad Pawar-led NCP is aggressively pursuing an outreach strategy focused on the youth, women and farmers, for which, weekly programmes are being organised. The NCP is working on a two-pronged strategy to exploit any pro-Uddhav sympathy and consolidate its own foothold on territories vacated due to the Shiv Sena split. While the Congress is engaged in an in-house power tussle, and Thackeray is fighting for survival, the NCP has a lot of scope of making deep inroads across its bastion in western Maharashtra into Marathwada and North Maharashtra.
NITISH MAY BE KEY TO OPPOSITION UNITY AGAINST MODI-LED NDA REGIME
The political buzz around the formulation of a main oppositional front has once again raised its head. While discussions for the opposition unity have been recurrent, the major difference this time is that Bihar Chief Minister Nitesh Kumar seems to be waiting for a signal from the Congress to work towards getting all the Opposition parties on board. Nitish Kumar asserted that if the Opposition is united, “the BJP would not be able to cross 100 seats in 2024 Lok Sabha polls”. The Bihar CM was speaking at a national convention of the CPI(ML) Liberation, which favours the Mahagathbandhan government in the state from outside, on the theme “Save democracy, save Constitution, drive out Fascism”. However, CM Nitish warned the non-NDA parties of the dire consequences, saying that they would be decimated in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, if they do not unite against the BJP. (IPA Service)