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JD(U) will return to NDA if Advani is at the helm again: Arati Jerath

Updated: June 18, 2013, 7:02 PM IST
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JD(U) will return to NDA if Advani is at the helm again: Arati Jerath
What's next for Nitish Kumar and the NDA?

After the dramatic split of the JD(U) and the BJP what does the future hold for both the parties as well as the NDA? Senior journalist Arati Jerath joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.

Q. Mam, in your opinion, with Mr Modi ascendancy, where will the major gains/losses lie UPA or regional parties of UP & Bihar? Asked by: Kamal

A. Even without Mr Modi's ascendance, I think the Congress is declining in popularity because of scams, policy paralysis, food inflation, etc in UPA 2's tenure. I think regional parties are gaining ground. The BJP should have put together an anti-Congress platform with regional parties on issues like corruption and mismanagement of the economy. Instead, it has retreated into "majestic isolation".

Q. Is it not internal matter of BJP as whom to appoint their campaign chief? Was JDU using this as an excuse to ditch NDA? Asked by: praveen

A. The BJP has had other campaign chiefs in the past like Pramod Mahajan in 2004 and Arun Jaitley in 2009. But neither were given the kind of adulation or grand announcement like Modi received at Goa. Obviously, Modi is more than a campaign chief. He is the proxy PM candidate of the BJP. His elevation has become a convenient excuse for the JD(U) to ditch the NDA. I think the Bihar alliance was doomed anyway because there is a lot of trouble on the ground between the BJP and the JD(U).

Q. After Nitish Episode, do you see any new dropouts from NDA? Or Any new entries in NDA? Asked by: Rushikesh

A. There is talk that Modi would like to trade Uddhav Thackeray's Shiv Sena for Raj's MNS in Maharashtra. But these are early days. I don't see any new entrants into NDA because I believe regional leaders feel their time has come now. They would like to shake off the domiantion of both the national parties.

Q. BJP, by announcing Narendra Modi as Chief Election Campaigner has infused new life to the Congress who otherwise was almost in ICU.Your take please. Asked by: Shyam Vadalker

A. I'm not sure that the Congress has an answer to Narendra Modi. It is fighting a tough battle after the controversy-ridden tenure of UPA 2. There is a definite anti-Congress feeling among voters. And if Rahul Gandhi has a plan to overcome the negative impact of the past three years, we haven't seen signs of it as yet.

Q. Mam, one thing we have always overlooked is that one big reason behind the success of ABV in stitching the coalition was that Cong wanted to go solo. Once they realized that coalition is the new age reality, they were always a more attractive choice because of bjp ideologies. Your comment. Asked by: Kamal

A. There is no doubt that the Congress can attract more partners because of the BJP's overt Hindutva ideology. This is something BJP leaders admit privately. But today, I don't think the Congress is an attractive choice for regional leaders. Like the NDA, the UPA too has lost partners.

Q. Who do you think will have a significant advantage after this break up- JDU, BJP, RJD or Congress? Asked by: Hafeez

A. I think the JD(U) and the RJD would like to make Bihar a two-party state, like UP, where the BJP and Congress are marginal players today. Both are going to fight hard to push back the two national parties. It is difficult to say at this stage which party stands to benefit, although the logic of numbers would suggest that the JD(U)-BJP split will benefit Lalu's RJD.

Q. BJP has won 116 seats in 2009 with 12 of them in Bihar. Leaving out bihar they have won just 104 seats. Do you think BJP will get 180+ seats alone with this alliance? Do you think BJP will be able to muster 30+ seats in Up and 20+ in Bihar under Modi's leadership? Asked by: Hafeez

A. Modi is untested outside Gujarat. He obviously has appeal among the urban middle classes but it's not clear whether this appeal stretches into the rural hinterland of UP and Bihar. Unless we see more evidence of the so-called Modi wave, I think it's going to be difficult for the BJP to reach even 180.

Q. Dear Mam, who do you think can be the potential allies of the bjp under Modi apart from TRS and Jaya? Asked by: Kamal

A. At the moment, I don't see any regional aprty wanting to ally with a Modi-led BJP. Even Jayalalithaa seems to be having second thoughts. After declaring Modi her friend and wishing him well, she helped CPI"s D Raja to get elected to the Rajya Sabha from Tamil Nadu yesterday. Obviously, she is keeping the Third Front option open.

Q. Do you think the misadventure of JDU will help them to turn all Muslim votes towards them or Muslims are smart enough or will confuse enough to choose which amongst JDU-RJD-INC to cast their franchise. Asked by: Satya

A. I think, the Muslim community is very clear that it doesn't want to waste its vote, especially if Modi leads the BJP. It will vote for whichever party is best placed to defeat the BJP. In UP, this could benefit the SP and the BSP. In Bihar, it could benefit the RJD and the JD(U), depending on the candidate.

Q. If we look back at the ascent of Nitish, it very clearly emerges as being based purely on BJP support. Congress is also on the descent now. Why has Nitish chosen to ride Congress band wagon now? Asked by: Prem Kumar

A. I think it's the Congress that is wooing Nitish, not the other way around. At this point, the stock of the Congress is quite low with voters because of scams and price rise. I don't think regional leaders are really looking to ally with it.

Q. Hi - I believe this decision will lead to the downfall of Nitish Kumar..He did not repect the people's mandate in Bihar and as per the clips in TV Bihar people are not approving this decision..Nitish is opposing Modi Juat to grab Muslim votes and his position has been changing time to tome..What's your thought on this? Asked by: Somnath

A. There is no doubt that Nitish is an opportunist. But then, most politicians look at what wins them votes and take positions accordingly. Harnessing Muslim support is just one of the reasons for the decision to pull out of the NDA. I believe there was plenty of friction on the ground between the BJP and the Nitish because their politics are quite different. One appeals to the upper castes; the other is playing backward caste politics.

Q. I think it is an internal arrangement to maximize BJP vote by projecting Modi for PM and to maximize JDU vote by not being part of NDA. Later if Modi not able to cobble up numbers JDU will happily join NDA with Advani at the helm. In this perspective even Advani's resignation is staged. What do you think? Asked by: Lakshmanan

A. It is quite possible that the JD(U) will return to the NDA if Advani is at the helm again. In fact, Nitish has already hinted at this. But first, the BJP has to get enough numbers to put together a government. It needs at least 180 seats on its own. And Nitish too has to have numbers. Only then can the question arise of Nitish rejoining the NDA.

Q. NDA as good as gone, will BJP try for new partners? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I don't think a Modi-led BJP can attract new partners. The baggage of the 2002 Gujarat riots is just one of the problems. The bigger problem is his autocratic, lone wolf style of functioning. His record in Gujarat shows that he is not a team leader and the head of a coalition has to be able to carry diverse partners with him.

Q. Shiv Sena had asked Nitish not to act in a Hurry. Why and is it because of fear of losing heavy on LS polls? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Uddhav Thackeray too is uncomfortable at the prospect of dealing with a Modi-led BJP. Obviously, he is not worried about Muslim votes. He is more worried about Modi's dominating style. He is also aware that his cousin Raj and Modi share a good relationship. I think Uddhav saw Nitish as a good balancing force to Modi's domination.

First Published: June 18, 2013, 7:02 PM IST
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