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Will TDP demand for special status to Andhra Pradesh put BJP on backfoot?

By Sudhansu R Das

The voters can be said to have performed well in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.  The National Democratic Alliance could not win 400 seats as hyped by their leaders and by most exit polls despite the politicisation around the construction of Ram Mandir, the scrapping of Article 370, and India being a trillion-dollar economy. NDA won 292 Lok Sabha seats, which is a comfortable majority.
The Congress on the other hand has significantly improved its position from 52 to 99 seats, and its party leaders appear to have become so enthusiastic that they are tempted to go in to negotiate with NDA’s allies Telugu Desam Party and Nitish Kumar for a break up with NDA, without realising that the Congress’ only objective has been to stop BJP from forming a government. 
At present, NDA appears well entrenched with 292 seats; no ally is likely leave BJP at this stage.  If some party goes out of NDA, BJP has enough "firefighters" to fill in the gap by wooing  Congress allies. 
No doubt, BJP with 240 MPs generates more gravitational pool than the Congress to keep alliance partners together. Indeed, it may not be easy for the Congress with 99 Lok Sabha seats  to hold its allies for long.  
However, BJP should know that TDP which promised people special status for Andhra Pradesh may put BJP on the backfoot, as the demand will trigger similar demands from other poor states such as Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu may wait for the opportune moment to raise the demand.  As for Nitish Kumar, he may not tilt to the Congress at the moment.
Congress leaders should know, if they become desperate to form a government, it will bring more of a problem than a solution for the grand old party.  Afterall, the fact is, the INDIA block missed the opportunity to win more seats because it could not have a unified command; popular leader Arvind Kejriwal was reluctant to join the INDIA block initially, and Nitish Kumar backed out and rejoined NDA.    
Congress leaders should know, if they become desperate to form a government, it will bring more  problems for the grand old party
The Congress could have won more seats if it focused less on PM Narendra Modi and more on environment, unemployment, price rise, debt burden, income disparity, poor health and education facilities, Covid-19 mismanagement, demonetization, man-made summer heat, deaths due to natural calamities, farmers’ suicides, and Chinese incursion into Ladakh. 
BJP on the other hand happily dug out Congress’ alleged historical blunders on economy, national integrity, appeasement of the minority communities, corruption, and the 1962 war with China with "elaborate" details.  
The statement to discontinue reservation by changing the Constitution was highlighted in the election campaign by the opposition parties; it had an impact on Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The BJP lost 63 seats and won 240 seats, which is a setback for the party. 
This happened even though it had maximum number of electoral bonds, a robust social media, and the Sangh Parivar. It would  need to introspect its losses, because the erosion of votes took place amidst big claims of success stories.  
BJP has won the Assembly polls in Odisha for the first time, defeating the 25-year-old Naveen Pattanaik government. Will the party to live above personal relations to select a CM for Odisha and cabinet ministers to handle the key departments at the Centre? One should wait and watch. 



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