BJP begins drive to retain allies | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 08, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 08, 2018

BY-POLL SETBACKS ACROSS INDIA

BJP begins drive to retain allies

Stung by defeat in a series of recent bye-elections and alarmed at the coming together of opposition parties, Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party has begun a major outreach drive to retain its existing political allies ahead of fresh parliamentary polls due early next year.

Modi's aide Amit Shah kicked off the drive by meeting with its oldest ally Shiv Sena supremo Uddhav Thackera in Mumbai on Wednesday and top leaders of Shiromani Akal Dal in Punjab yesterday.

Shah's decision to meet the allies of the BJP-led NDA and seek to calm the rumblings in the coalition comes about a week after the ruling party's by-poll setbacks across states.

A united opposition won 11 of the 14 state legislative assembly and parliamentary seats in the May 28 by-polls.

The results of the by-polls as also the opposition unity displayed last month in Karnataka lent an urgency to the BJP's decision to mend ties with its allies.

There is recognition in the BJP that by-polls have driven home the need for keeping its regional allies in good humour ahead of general elections, especially after Andhra Pradesh's ruling party walked out of NDA.  

The by-election defeats have also prodded the BJP to resume efforts to improve ties with its allies in Bihar where CM Nitish Kumar broke ties with Lalu Prasad's RJD and joined hands with the BJP.

Other allies of the BJP in Bihar are Lok Janashakti Party headed by Ram Vilas Paswan and Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP and both are restive over the BJP's handling of the coalition.

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