BJP taking no chances, sounds out BJD, ADMK

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Simple majority to help Modi push reforms

BJP taking no chances, sounds out BJD, ADMK
Beyond the outward euphoria of exit polls, there’s a growing concern in the saffron camp over the numbers game, particularly if the NDA tally stops somewhere between 230-240 Lok Sabha seats.

Though the party high command is in touch with AIADMK, BJD and even YSR Congress, among others, the lotus brigade led by its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, would prefer a simple majority on its own.

Insiders admit that Modi as prime minister would require a lot of elbowroom to push through his reforms agenda. If his government has to rely on support outside NDA, particularly from unpredictable AIADMK supremo, J Jayalalitha, the new government might find it difficult to push through some of its policies.

Though the BJP could seek AIADMK’s support in the event of the NDA stopping at 240 seats, it has not forgotten Jayalalitha’s move to bring down the Vajpayee government in 13 months.

In addition, the BJP is not exactly confident whether these regional players will support a Modi-led government or insist on a change of leadership if the NDA falls short of a simple majority by 40 or more seats.

With West Bengal going to assembly polls in 2016, Trinamool Congress boss Mamata Banerjee is in no position to support a Modi-led government in Delhi. The Muslim vote bank in West Bengal is a staggering 30 per cent.

Insiders say as the elections progressed, Modi was told that the NDA would come within striking distance of getting a simple majority. During the last couple of phases, saffron spin-doctors became confident that the NDA could even touch the 300-mark in the Lok Sabha berths.

Modi, who was initially careful in his speeches, later began attacking the regional satraps, from Mamata Banerjee to Jayalalitha and Naveen Patnaik. While the BJP remains confident about cashing in on the support of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, AIADMK supremo remains a “cause of concern,” a saffron functionary admitted.

In a scenario where regional players refuse to support Modi, all eyes will be on the RSS to see whether it throws its weight behind a face acceptable to the regional leaders, including the mercurial Trinamul supremo.

Without Modi at the top, Trinamul could offer outside support. The RSS will then consider whether to stick to Modi and push the country towards another election or look for an acceptable face.

In the event of another election (if the Congress and other non-NDA outfits don’t have the requisite numbers to form an alternative government), there could be a strong possibility of the BJP slipping down the ladder, the functionary said.

The party was also debating the possibility of running a minority government on the lines of PV Narasimha Rao in the initial stages, if it falls woefully short of majority. It was, however, felt that a minority government would be “reduced to a lame duck government as it would have to constantly depend on the regional satraps for pushing through key legislations in Parliament.”

A senior BJP leader said that “for every crucial legislation, cut motions, opposition bringing in a no-confidence motion against the government, we will have to ask the supporting parties to abstain to bring down numbers in the House. It will be a complete mess and the government will be constantly blackmailed.”

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