Scramble for post-poll alliance to form govt

New Delhi: As the 15th Lok Sabha elections are likely to produce a fractured mandate, major political parties, particularly the Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are making early overtures to their potential allies. Some of the old allies of the United Progressive Alliance and National Democratic Alliance have already left these fronts and some others have hinted that every thing is up for grabs once the results are declared on May 16. The INC and the BJP leads the UPA and the NDA, respectively.

UPA allies like Samajwadi Party (SP), Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) have distanced themselves from the UPA. The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), another UPA ally, also remains non-committal to the UPA. On the other hand, Navin Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal in Orissa has joined the Third Front, ending a decade-long alliance with BJP.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was with the NDA until a few years ago, has joined the Third Front being led by the Communist parties. The CPI-M, which initially ruled out any alliance with the INC and the BJP, has started softening its stance vis-à-vis the Congress.

INC Leader Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that there is no permanent enemy in politics. His praise for non UPA partners, like Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu and AIADMK’s J Jaylalitha is a case in point. The INC’s decision not to give much pre-poll importance to its old allies Mulayam Singh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party, which helped UPA government to survive a no confidence motion over the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal last year, has on the other hand reminded people if there is no permanent enemy in politics then there is no permanent friend, either. “Political parties’ early overtures indicate that they are trying to rope in their potential allies as quickly as possible,” said Sanjay Kumar, fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies. Since there has been a coalition government for last 18 years at the Centre, it is not that the political parties are not ready to deal with the problems of fractured mandate. But analysts believe that it would be easier only when either INC or the BJP is in the driver’s seat. “There will be a coalition government this time again. But there will be so many regional parties that the harmony of interests will prove to be very difficult,” said senior journalist Kuldip Nayar. Kumar echoes his views. “If the PM is from the party other than the INC and the BJP, then I fear there would be a mid-term elections after a while,” Kumar said.

Confident of emerging as the single largest party, the INC decided to ignore its allies - the SP, RJD and LJP — in most crucial states like UP and Bihar. “Had INC fought elections jointly with their allies in these two states, it would have benefited the UPA. But, it would have further eroded the party’s base,” explained Kumar. The BJP, too, does not want to lag behind in the race of wooing new allies.