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In Hint at Post-Poll Plans, Modi Says Open to Alliances With Staunchest Foes and Single-MP Parties

Prime Minister's statements assume importance given the result of several opinion polls that show BJP+, with different margins, falling just short of a full majority.


Updated:April 9, 2019, 6:32 PM IST

New Delhi: In what could be read as a significant and the first-of-its-kind indicator by the BJP that it is seeking support of non-NDA parties in forming its government post-polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told News18 that the BJP was willing to take along even the staunchest political adversaries "to take the nation forward".

In an exclusive conversation with Network18 group editor Rahul Joshi, who asked the Prime Minister whether he was open to allying with Jagan Reddy and K Chandrashekhar Reddy after the election, Modi said that BJP was going to secure a full majority by itself, with a margin bigger than that in 2014.

"We will be in a position to form the government with more than the required majority. We will not need anyone's help to form the government," Modi said.

Though in subsequent statements he kept open the idea of BJP allying with parties from across the political spectrum.

Modi added that BJP's aim was not just to form the government, "Our mission is to run the nation and take it forward. This is possible only through general consensus. We will thus take along even those parties who send one MP to Parliament. No matter how strongly a party opposes us, we will take them with us because our mission is to take the nation forward."

Prime Minister's statements assume importance given the result of several opinion polls that show BJP+, with different margins, falling just short of a full majority.

Modi's emphasis on taking along "even those parties who send one MP to Parliament" is demonstrable in the alliances it has stitched in states like Tamil Nadu, where it has taken on board parties like Puthiya Neethi Katchi (PNK) and Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) - both of which have been given just one seat each.

In Rajasthan, BJP has allied with Hanuman Beniwal's newly formed Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLTP) that has been given only one sear - Nagaur. It has allied with Apna Dal (S) in UP giving it just two seats. Another ally Nishad Party, which announced a formal tie-up with BJP, is also likely to get at most one seat.

From describing the SP-RLD-BSP alliance in UP as 'SARAB' (using initials of the party names in Hindi) to using a generic 'Mahamilawat' (adulteration) to describe alliances stitched by opposition parties, Modi has constantly attacked efforts of non-NDA parties to deny BJP another term.

But all this while BJP has shown a hunger to put together its own alliances in several states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Even while, arguably, conceding a lot of space to regional players.

In fact BJP president Amit Shah has boasted about stitching together alliances "more successfully than the Mahagatbandhan. They are in disarray, which is not the case with us. If you add the alliances in Tamil Nadu and Bihar, we are in this election with a bigger size, shape and reach compared to the past."

(The full interview will be aired today at 7pm and 10pm on CNN-News18, News18 India, CNBC TV18 and other News18 regional channels.)

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