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Post verdict, allies could get more bargaining power

The Maharashtra result gives Shiv Sena more clout, and the assertive partner is sure to make its demands in portfolio allocations.

Last Updated: Oct 25, 2019, 10.54 AM IST
BJP’s numbers have given Sena fresh relevance.
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(This story originally appeared in on Oct 25, 2019)
NEW DELHI: Having not matched prepoll expectations, BJP seemed to have returned to a situation where equations with NDA have tilted towards its allies, in contrast to recent trends where the saffron major was looking to dominate the political scene in the aftermath of the Lok Sabha result.

The Maharashtra result gives Shiv Sena more clout, and the assertive partner is sure to make its demands in portfolio allocations. The relations between the parties have been tested, with BJP slowly gaining the upper hand over the last five years. But now, BJP’s numbers have given Sena fresh relevance.

The allies, especially the older ones like Sena and JD(U) in Bihar are obviously happier than they were for the last few months, since the Lok Sabha results in May had put BJP overwhelmingly in charge of NDA.

Thursday’s results come within months of BJP’s grand LS victory — with a 302 mandate on its own — rendering its coalition partners almost irrelevant and leading to the expectation that BJP would be back in office in both the states, almost on its own, just like it did in 2014, riding the same wave. The formation of the council of ministers reflected the party’s increased standing.

But with BJP weaker, its allies seem to be back in business. They feel they have a better say in matters in the coalition system as compared to the way they felt ignored after the Modi regime returned at the Centre.

Visible signs of alliance trouble almost every day between Sena and BJP in Maharashtra and also between JD(U) and BJP in Bihar, which goes to polls exactly a year from now, had generated the feeling that the saffron party was working towards negating any dependence on them and was working steadily to improve its own strength.

In Bihar too, recent statements by state BJP functionaries against chief minister and Janata Dal (United) chief Nitish Kumar or other leaders in his party have been aggravating, in an obvious attempt to restrict the ally to a “lower” status and go for larger share of seats in the state for the assembly polls next year. But Thursday’s results will surely put a spanner in the works.

Even the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), an ally in Punjab for long years, had been upset with BJP for snatching away its lone sitting MLA in Haryana Kalanwali Balkaur Singh.
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