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Daily Take: BJP readies back-up plans
April 28, 2004 04:20 IST
Realisation has suddenly dawned on the Bharatiya Janata Party that the coalition it heads, the National Democratic Alliance, may not be doing so well in the general election after all.
The party conceded as much on Tuesday, in the wake of the second round of polling, when an internal assessment said it is under pressure in the crucial states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
For the record the party is putting on a brave face and insisting that the NDA will reach the magical figure of 272 without much ado. "The exit polls will be proved wrong," BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu said.
But the leadership is also planning to try and woo back some former allies like the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Pattali Makkal Katchi and the Marumalarchi DMK in Tamil Nadu and the Bahujan Samaj Party in Uttar Pradesh.
There is also talk of holding out an olive branch to the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar and, possibly, even the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has of late softened his attacks on the BJP considerably.
Clearly, the results will not be the end of this drama. They are only likely to herald the beginning of Act II.
Meanwhile, the BJP's second rung leadership refuses to ease the pressure on Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Union Health Minister Sushma Swaraj, who contested the previous election against Gandhi in Bellary and lost, told an election rally in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, that only a person of Indian origin could be the prime minister of India.
Swaraj accused Gandhi of having no links with Indian soil and being unaware of the country's traditions, culture and religions.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi also hit out at her at another rally in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, saying the country had a right to know her antecedents.
Modi remarked that even a landlord seeks all kinds of details from a prospective tenant while here it is a question of running the government.
Modi also made a comparison between her and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, claiming that Vajpayee remained a bachelor to serve the nation while Gandhi gave up her country of birth to marry the man she loved.
Whether these attacks diminish the seemingly growing appeal of the Congress, or only help to increase it, remains to be seen. After all, doesn't the old cliche say that all the world loves a lover?
Daily Take: Against the popular will