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What Price Must BJP Pay To Keep Kingmakers JDU & TDP

Following the surprising results of the Lok Sabha election, which denied a clear majority to the incumbent BJP, its allies, JDU’s Nitish Kumar and TDP’s N Chandrababu Naidu have arrived in Delhi for an NDA meeting to determine the way forward. Speculation suggests that the INDIA Opposition bloc, which won 232 seats, may attempt to reach out to Kumar and Naidu. However, both JDU and TDP have emphasized their commitment to the NDA.

With the BJP winning 240 Lok Sabha seats, 32 short of the majority mark, the support of the TDP and JDU, who hold a combined total of 28 seats, along with other BJP allies, would push the NDA past the magic figure. Naidu and Kumar, experienced negotiators from the coalition era, understand the importance of their support. The numbers have created a window of opportunity for them to assert their demands.

While JDU has hinted at its requests, TDP has remained tight-lipped. KC Tyagi, a senior JDU leader, mentioned that the party would consider joining the government if invited. He expressed hope that the new government would grant special category status to Bihar and conduct a nationwide caste census. Tyagi clarified that these were not conditions for JDU’s support to the NDA, but rather issues crucial for addressing unemployment in Bihar.

Interestingly, the INDIA Opposition bloc has also raised the caste census as a significant concern. Prior to Nitish Kumar’s recent change of stance, his coalition government with RJD and Congress had conducted a caste survey in Bihar. Tyagi stressed that Narendra Modi had never opposed a nationwide caste census, suggesting its necessity.

Regarding Naidu, there is little clarity on his demands from the BJP leadership. TDP sources indicate that the party may request key ministries at the Centre and a preferential status for Andhra Pradesh. A previous dispute over a special status demand led Naidu to part ways with the BJP in 2016.

Naidu, who has returned to power in Andhra Pradesh with a resounding victory, faces the challenge of fulfilling his promises to rebuild the state and develop a capital city. Known as the first CEO Chief Minister for his focus on business and urban development, Naidu must deliver on his commitments, especially to secure his son Nara Lokesh’s political future.

While both the TDP and JDU affirm their loyalty to the NDA for now, the presence of influential leaders like Naidu and Kumar means that no possibility can be ruled out. As the NDA meeting unfolds, the political landscape is sure to witness intriguing developments.

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