Since 2014, at least 11 parties have left the Narendra Modi-led NDA or distanced themselves from the BJP. (PTI Photo)
The Narendra Modi-wave in 2014 had not only marginalised the parties like Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP), Ajit Singh's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal-United (JDU) and Sharad Pawar's Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) but also propelled the electoral fortunes of some of its allies. The Uddhav Thackeray-led Shiv Sena and Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) registered their best ever performances in 2014. But it seems a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. After Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Chandrababu Naidu's decision to quit the Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March this year, there has been an alarming discomfort among the BJP allies. In Bihar, Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) is on the verge of breaking its ranks with the NDA. Kushwaha is demanding a respectable share of Lok Sabha seats for his party. In Assam also, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is at the loggerheads with the BJP over the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The party has been threatening to pull out of the alliance because of the ruling party's bid to pass the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014. This is not the first time the BJP allies have expressed their anguish over the treatment meted out to them. Since 2014, at least 11 parties have left the NDA or distanced themselves from the BJP. These 11 parties are TDP, Shiv Sena, Jana Sena Party, MDMK, PMK, DMDK, Haryana Janhit Congress, Swabhimani Paksha, NPF, JRS and GJM.
1. Telugu Desam Party (TDP): Chandrababu Naidu's TDP had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP. The party was able to put up a good show due to Modi wave and mishandling of the state bifurcation issue by the then incumbent Congress government. The NDA together won 17/25 Lok Sabha and 106/175 Assembly seats in 2014. There was a very close contest between Naidu's TDP and Jaganmohan Reddy's YSRCP in 2014 and it was assumed that the last minute alliance with the BJP worked well for Naidu. The alliance also got 2/17 Lok Sabha and 20/119 Assembly seats in Telangana in 2014. Naidu decided to break the alliance over the denial of special status for Andhra Pradesh. The party has taken a big decision to join hands with the Congress party in Telangana for the upcoming Assembly elections and it is likely that Naidu will replicate the same formula in Andhra Pradesh too.
2. Shiv Sena: Uddhav Thackeray's party was the BJP's biggest and oldest ally. Both the parties shared a common ground on Hindutva and other issues over the years but Uddhav's recent Ayodhya visit has created a lot of animosity between both the allies. The relationship between the two parties has turned bitter soon after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The party also adopted a political resolution and said it will contest all elections in the future on its own. In 2014, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance along with other parties won 42 of 48 seats in Maharashtra. The Shiv Sena was able to win 18 Lok Sabha seats that time, its best ever performance. Earlier, the party's best performance was in 1996 when it was able to win 15 seats. However, both parties parted ways four years ago and contested the Maharashtra Assembly elections separately in which the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 122 seats and formed the government. The Shiv Sena with its 63 MLAs also decided to join the Devendra Fadnavis-led government and its ministers are still continuing with the central as well as the state governments. According to reports, the Shiv Sena is demanding a 50-50 seat-sharing arrangement for 288 seats of Maharashtra Assembly.
3. Jana Sena Party: Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party had supported the TDP-BJP alliance in the 2014 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections but now has taken a decision to contest the upcoming polls on its own. In 2014, Kalyan had addressed rallies with Narendra Modi and Chandrababu Naidu but the actor-turned-politician these days is busy in projecting himself as an alternative to Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh. Kalyan has also accused the BJP of practising vendetta politics by conducting IT raids against him.
4. MDMK: Vaiko's Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) was the first party to quit the Narendra Modi-led NDA just after the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. The party had contested on 7 seats including Virudhunagar, Theni, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Erode, Sriperumbudur and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu but lost all the seats. Vaiko himself lost in Virudhunagar. The party decided to quit the NDA alliance in Tamil Nadu alleging that the BJP government at the Centre was acting against Tamils and betrayed the people of the state. Vaiko was one of the architects of the People's Welfare Front (PWF) with the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) and Left parties in 2016 and also got the support of Vijayakanth's DMDK and GK Vasan's TMC but the front was not able to secure even a single seat. The MDMK had recently decided to join forces with MK Stalin's Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and also indicated that it has no issues with the Congress party.
5. PMK: The S Ramadoss-led Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) is another Tamil Nadu party which has distanced itself from the BJP. The PMK was with the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and contested 8 seats including Dharmapuri, Arakkonam, Arani, Krishnagiri, Tiruvannamalai, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuturai and Chidambaram. Apart from Ramadoss' son Anbumani Ramadoss from Dharmapuri, all other candidates of the party lost the elections. Ramadoss wanted his son Anbumani to be inducted in the Modi Cabinet but the BJP didn't entertain his demands. The party had decided to fight the 2016 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls alone when the BJP decided not to project Anbumani as the alliance's chief ministerial candidate and since then it is not in good terms with the BJP. The party also attacked the 'saffron party' after BJP Tamil Nadu chief Tamilisai Soundararajan reportedly made remarks against the PMK leadership at a public meeting in Singaperumalkoil. The cadres of the two parties clashed outside the BJP office in Chennai. The PMK cadre took out a procession against the national party, carrying the party's flags and shouting slogans against the BJP.
6. DMDK: The Vijayakanth-led Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) had forged an alliance with the BJP in Tamil Nadu just before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and contested on 14 parliamentary seats. However, the party lost all seats including Chennai North, Chennai Central, Salem, Tiruppur, Karur and Madurai to the AIADMK candidates. The DMDK left the NDA in 2016 to contest the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in alliance with the newly formed People's Welfare Front (PWF). It contested on 104 Assembly seats in Tamil Nadu but was unable to open its account. Vijayakanth recently ruled out the possibility of any alliance with the BJP. The BJP has also hinted that it is likely to support Rajinikanth in the upcoming polls.
7. Haryana Janhit Congress: In Haryana, former chief minister Bhajan Lal's son Kuldeep Bishnoi had fought the 2014 Lok Sabha elections under the NDA umbrella. His party Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), however, didn't manage to win even a single seat. Bishnoi himself lost the elections from Hissar. Later that year, the BJP decided to contest the Assembly elections in Haryana on its own and grabbed the power for the first time. Bishnoi's party was able to get only 2 seats in the 90-member strong Haryana Assembly. Bishnoi merged his party with Congress in 2016. The HJC was founded by Bishnoi's father Bhajan Lal in 2007.
8. Swabhimani Paksha: Farmer leader Raju Shetti's Swabhimani Paksha quit the NDA over the Modi government's "apathy towards farmers". Shetti contested the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections along with the BJP in 2014. Shetty won the Hatkhanagale Lok Sabha seat in 2014. He decided to remain with the NDA for 2014 Maharashtra Assembly elections and didn't join the Shiv Sena. He left the NDA alleging Modi government's "anti-farmer policies" for his exit. He is now in talks with all the anti-BJP forces and likely to join them before the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
9. NPF: The Nagaland People's Front (NPF) was BJP's oldest ally in any northeastern state since 2003. However, the national party decided to dump Chief Minister TR Zeliang to ally with former chief minister Neiphiu Rio's Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in 2018 Nagaland Assembly elections. The NPF lost its majority in the elections and was reduced to 26 seats. The NDPP won 18 seats in an alliance with the BJP. The BJP registered its highest tally of 12 seats in the Nagaland Assembly elections and is now a part of the Rio-led government in the state. The national party has its first deputy chief minister in the state.
10. JRS: Kerala tribal leader and Janadhipathya Rashtriya Sabha (JRS) chief CK Janu has quit the NDA recently. She decided to leave the alliance as many of the promises made to her and her party were apparently not fulfilled. She had been the face of several tribal agitations in the state.
11. GJM: The Benoy Tamang faction of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) also pulled out of the NDA in March this year. However, the Bimal Gurung faction of the GJM is still with the BJP. The GJM supported the BJP in 2009 and 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the north Bengal region. BJP candidates Jaswant Singh and SS Ahluwalia were successful from Darjeeling Lok Sabha constituency.
The BJP, however, is able to retain some of its partners till now. The party's alliances with the Shiromani Akali Dal in Punjab, Lok Janshakti Party and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party in Bihar, Apna Dal in Uttar Pradesh, RPI-A in Maharashtra, AINRC in Puducherry, NPP in Meghalaya are still intact. The party has lost Mehbooba Mufti's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir and Jitan Ram Manjhi's Hindustani Awam Morcha in Bihar. These parties were not in an alliance with the BJP in 2014. The BJP has also gained some new allies since 2014. Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) in Bihar, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People's Front (BPF) in Assam, SDF in Sikkim, IPFT in Tripura, Vijay Sardesai's Goa Forward Party (GFP) in Goa, Sajad Lone's JKPC in Jammu and Kashmir, BDJS in Kerala, OP Rajbhar's SBSP in Uttar Pradesh and Narayan Rane's Maharashtra Swabhimaan Paksh are some of them.