Saturday, May 3, 2014

BJP Tries To Develop Relations With Old Allies

After war of words, BJP tries to placate its former allies-Business Standard-4th May 2014

Rajnath Singh made BJP's first overture to the West Bengal CM after the bad blood of last week between Modi and Banerjee
Over the past 24 hours, with just two more phases of the general elections left, several Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have asked friends-turned-foes among regional political parties to come home. Leaders such as the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and presidentRajnath Singh have implored potential regional friends to move beyond the bitter words exchanged during the rough and tumble of election campaigning.

In their public addresses, the two have offered regional parties such as Trinamool Congress and Biju Janata Dal the hope of “special financial packages” for the respective states these parties currently rule. Both Modi and Singh have suggested that regional parties should cooperate with a possible National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre. The BJP has also opened its channels with the AIADMK, say party sources.

Interestingly, Modi and Singh’s attacks have focused on the “mother-son Congress government”, the father-son run Samajwadi Party and Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal. The two leaders have significantly not been acerbic in their criticism of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati, and have largely spared Bihar CM and Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar as well.

In his speech on Friday at Naihati in West Bengal, Singh made the BJP’s first overture to the West Bengal CM after the bad blood of last week between Modi and Banerjee. “If you (Trinamool) want to fight, fight with the Congress. Why are you fighting with the BJP? Stop fighting with the BJP,” Singh said.

This comes nearly a week after Modi questioned Banerjee on how one of her paintings could sell for Rs 3.5 crore, upon which the Trinamool Congress fielded three of its senior leaders who called Modi names like “butcher of Gujarat”.
But Singh tried to soften matters. “I assure you that our government will be formed in Delhi. For the development of West Bengal and to remove poverty and unemployment, whatever big package is necessary, we will give it,” he said.

Modi, in his 3D speech on Friday evening, said the BJP manifesto promised “special financial packages for eastern UP, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha”. He slammed the Congress for supporting Lalu Prasad whose emergence, Modi said, would again lead Bihar to the chaos from which the state was pulled out.

The Gujarat CM didn’t criticise Nitish, neither did he utter a word against Mayawati or Banerjee. In an interview with Bengali daily Ananda Bazar Patrika published on Saturday, Modi again reached out to Banerjee. He said words exchanged during a political campaign shouldn’t be taken to heart. “Political opponents do attack each other. That is the nature of politics,” Modi said.

A senior leader in Delhi said that of the two prominent Dravidian parties the BJP would prefer Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa as an ally. Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad highlighted JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav’s criticism of not only Lalu but also Nitish at one of his public rallies. He said interesting developments were afoot in Bihar politics.

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