New Delhi: The BJP winning over the BJD and TRS in the election to the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman’s post is seen as a blow to the Opposition’s attempts to forge larger unity against it and a boost to the ruling NDA as both camps gear up for the next Lok Sabha elections.
There was jubilation in the BJP camp after it managed to get the better of the opposition in the number game in the Rajya Sabha, with NDA nominee Harivansh fetching 125 votes against 105 of opposition’s B K Hariprasad.
Its senior leaders pointed out as to how the BJD and TRS had chosen to abstain during the voting in the Lok Sabha on the no-confidence motion against the government on July 20 but decided to back the NDA today.
The decision of the two parties is also significant as the BJP has emerged as the main challenger to Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik while TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao was till recently exploring the possibility of a federal front of regional parties against the BJP.
If Naveen Patnaik is taking a decision, it must be based on his calculations for the future, a BJP leader said.
Patnaik has had an uninterrupted reign since 2000 and was an ally of the BJP before he broke ties in 2009 following Kandhamal riots.
However, there is also a view that the new-found bonhomie between the two parties could lead the BJP to tamp down its campaign against him ahead of the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in the state, making things easier for the BJD.
Both elections are held simultaneously in the state.
The BJD had won 20 of 21 Lok Sabha seats in the state in 2014 and the BJP one.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had called up Patnaik to seek his party’s support for Harivansh, a JD(U) member and NDA nominee for the Deputy Chairman post.
This was followed by a call from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Patnaik which sealed the deal.
BJP leaders believe that cordial ties with non-NDA parties may come handy for the party after 2019 elections in case its tally fall below the majority mark.
In Telangana, political watchers believe, Rao has a firm grip in absence of a strong opposition after he won 11 of its 17 Lok Sabha seats and swept the assembly polls in 2014.
Like Odisha, Lok Sabha and assembly polls are held simultaneously in Telangana as well.
Rao had last week met Modi following which TRS sources said their party was open to a post-poll tie-up with the BJP in 2019.
Both regional satraps may have reckoned, sources said, that a friendly relationship with the BJP- which had been working aggressively to expand its footprints in their states- may help them to return to power.
An opposition leader said somebody like Rao could go either way depending on the results of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.