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Who are Modi's 26 allies in the NDA?

By Sheela Bhatt/
May 05, 2014 19:29 IST
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From parties dominated by Bolsheviks to farmers and from caste-based parties to small regional outfits, and even parties that matter in just a couple of constituencies, Narendra Modi's BJP has 26 supporters under the NDA umbrella.

Sheela Bhatt/ surveys the BJP's 26 allies currently under the NDA umbrella that Modi talks about so proudly in interview after interview.

The Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is giving interview after interview wherein he brightens up while talking about his pre-poll alliance of '25 parties' again and again.

In fact, Modi needs to be corrected. There are 27 political parties, including the BJP, under the National Democratic Alliance umbrella.

In Tamil Nadu, the New Justice Party president is contesting from Vellore on the BJP's lotus symbol.

The North-East Regional Political Front members like the Manipur Peoples Party, the Naga People's Front and the Mizo National Front are contesting in one seat each while the front's other members are supporting NDA candidates.

Surely, this alliance is good enough to give a psychological boost to the once 'untouchable' BJP and Modi, but, eventually, if the NDA doesn't get a majority on its own, then walking the last mile will be the greatest challenge of this election for Modi.

Those who oppose Modi tooth and nail are sure that getting allies after the results are out will be tough for Modi, and as the Vajpayee government in 1996 had fallen within 13 days, Modi too may face his real test only after May 16.

However, there is another side to the argument. Some observers in New Delhi believe that many of the regional leaders are attacking Modi's politics and even abusing Modi in the campaign season only to bag the minority, anti-Modi and anti-BJP votes. The argument also goes that it is possible that it is 'noora-kushti' (match-fixing) to retain the loyal voters of the respective parties.

Sharad Pawar and Omar Abdullah's objection, even though with caveats, against the appointment of a judge to investigate Snoopgate on the eve of the election results is a pointer that many possibilities are open for Modi and the BJP after the results are out.

Also, in a parliamentary democracy, as none other than BJP President Rajnath Singh has explained, it will be unethical to replace a prime ministerial candidate after the election to form the government. The BJP has gone to the people asking for votes in Modi's name, so how can it compromise under the dictate of potential allies to get power?

The Modi camp expects that if the NDA gets anything between 230 and 250 seats, there will be more than the expected number of allies ready to join the NDA.

Here is a quick take on the BJP's 26 allies currently under the NDA umbrella that Modi talks about so proudly.




Bharatiya Janata Party


Shiv Sena


Swabhimani Paksha


Republican Party of India (Athavale)


Rashtriya Samaj Paksha


Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam


Pattali Makkal Katchi


Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam


Kongunadu Makkal Desia Katchi


Indhiya Jananayaga Katchi


All India N R Congress


Telugu Desam Party


Lok Janshakti Party


Rashtriya Lok Samata Party


Kerala Congress (Nationalist)


Revolutionary Socialist Party (Bolshevik)


Shiromani Akali Dal


Haryana Janhit Congress


Apna Dal


National People's Party (India)


Naga People's Front


United Democratic Front


Manipur People's Party


Gorkha Janmukti Morcha


Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party


Jana Sena Party


New Justice Party

It shows the depth and expanse of hard work and homework that Modi's team has tried to create a buzz all over India. Except for a few like the Shiv Sena, the Akali Dal and the Telugu Desam Party these parties are not really well-established and powerful regional ones, but the long list shows the Modi's 'acceptability' factor away from New Delhi.

The NDA has with them Bolsheviks, farmers and caste-based parties to regional leaders' small outfits, and even parties that dominate in just a couple of constituencies.

Shiv Sena: The BJP's oldest alliance is with a Marathi chauvinistic and Hindu nationalist party founded in 1966 by the legendary Bal Thackeray. In 1995 it shared power with the BJP in Maharashtra, but since 1999 this alliance has not tasted power in the state.

The Shiv Sena-BJP and Ramdas Athavale's Republican Party are likely to bag an impressive number of Maharashtra's 48 Lok Sabha seats. Their leaders claim they would win around 25 seats.

The Sena-BJP's governance of the Mumbai municipal corporation is a sham. They have been singularly responsible for the city's downfall, but the Lok Sabha election is another matter.

Swabhimani Paksha: This Maharashtra-based party was formed by Raju Shetty after parting ways with Sharad Joshi, the well-known farmers leader and founder of the Shetkari Sanghatana. Shetty is a sitting MP from the Hatkanangle constituency. On the eve of the election, after much deliberation, he joined hands with the BJP-Sena instead of the Aam Aadmi Party.

Republican Party of India (Athavale): The party led by Ramdas Athavale has a presence in Maharashtra. Except Prakash Ambedakar, all the major RPI leaders have joined the NDA, and these Ambedkarites are serious players in state politics whether they win or lose.

Rashtriya Samaj Paksha: The RSP was founded in Maharashtra in 2003 by Mahadev Jankar, who is contesting the election in Baramati backed by the NDA.

Baramati is the fiefdom of Sharad Pawar whose Nationalist Congress Party has weakened over the years. Jankar is taking on Supriya Sule, the sitting MP and Pawar's daughter.

Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam: The DMDK is headed by Tamil action movie hero Vijaykant and has 26 MLAs in the Tamil Nadu assembly. The DMDK-BJP alliance is mutually beneficial.

Vijaykant, who is perceived as an anti-corruption hero, is quite bitter with his former ally, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and is eyeing the post of chief minister in future elections.

Pattali Makkal Katchi: The PMK is headed by Dr S Ramadoss and boasts of domination over the Vanniyar community. Its leaders and cadre swear caste loyalty to each other. The party identifies with Tamil Tigers supporters. The PMK was with the NDA, later with the UPA, and has now joined the Modi bandwagon.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam: MDMK leader Vaiko was with the NDA earlier and has been with the UPA too. He hit the national headlines for his total support to the Tamil Tigers cause, and has even gone to jail for it.

The Tamil leader who enjoyed close contacts with L K Advani is now giving fierce speeches to make Modi prime minister.

Kongunadu Makkal Desiya Katchi: E R Eswaran, the KMDK general secretary, is obsessed with improving governance. He belongs to a community called the Kongu Vellars, also known as Gounders, in western Tamil Nadu. Eswaran, a super-rich builder in Chennai, is fighting the Lok Sabha election from Pollachi. He believes in private-public partnership and matches Modi's views on business and governance.

Indhiya Jananaayaga Katchi: The Indian Democratic Party is floated by Pachamuthu, a leader of the sub-branch of the Moopanar community. It is dominant in three districts around Arcot in Tamil Nadu.

Pachamuthu, an educationist who founded the SRM University, talks about 'uplifting the downtrodden and working for the unity of India.'

All India NR Congress: The party founded in 2011 by N Rangaswamy is in power in Pondicherry. Rangaswamy, the current chief minister and a former Congressman, is quite popular. N R in the party's name stands for 'Namadhu Raajiyam,' meaning 'our kingdom', or it could even be N Rangaswamy!

Telugu Desam Party: With a 28.12 per cent vote share in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, the TDP is a prize catch for the BJP. The party was founded by the late Telugu superstar Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, NTR, in 1982 and saw a meteoric rise unheard of in Indian political history.

In flat eight months of forming the party 'to protect the dignity and self-respect of the Telugu people,' NTR became chief minister, dislodging the Congress from its fortress of Andhra Pradesh.

Due to the rise of Jagan Reddy's YSR Congress, the TDP's Nara Chandrababu Naidu, NTR's son-in-law, shook hands with Modi, but runs the risk of losing the support of the sizeable Muslim population in many constituencies.

Lok Janshakti Party: The party founded by Ram Vilas Paswan represents Dalits in Bihar. It was a Kodak moment when Paswan joined the BJP for the Lok Sabha election after his son Chirag brought Modi and him close. 'Secularism is not profitable,' Paswan said.

By joining the 'secular' Lalu Prasad Yadav, Paswan said his party had lost its vote share. For the 'sake of development of Bihar', Paswan is now back in the NDA. Opportunist, yes, but candid, too.

Rashtriya Lok Samata Party: The party led by Upendra Kushwaha, former member of the Janata Dal-United, is supported by minorities and Most Backward Classes (ati picchda varg). This class was instrumental in giving power to Nitish Kumar and the BJP's alliance in the state.

Kushwaha's party is contesting from Sitamarhi, Karakat and Jehanabad and is supported by the BJP. If the BJP gets more than 50 per cent of the seats in UP and Bihar out of a total of 120, it will be due to the knitting together of the OBC and youth votes.

Kerala Congress (Nationalist): This party was founded by Nobel Mathew after separating from the Kerala Congress, and is the NDA candidate from Kottayam.

Revolutionary Socialist Party (Bolshevik): The party was formed by former members of the Revolutionary Socialist Party in Kerala in 2001 under Baby John's leadership. This time, A V Thamarakshan is its candidate from the Alappuzha Lok Sabha seat, where he is standing as an independent supported by the BJP.

Shiromani Akali Dal: The party that wears religion on its sleeve is an old ally of the BJP. It was founded in 1920 to 'preserve Sikh culture'. It was then an outfit of the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee, the highest body of the Sikh community.

In Punjab, the SAD-BJP alliance has been in power for two terms and faces serious corruption charges, apart from also being accused of lack of governance.

Haryana Janhit Congress: In 2007, the HJC was founded by Bhajan Lal, former chief minister and senior Congress leader who was accused of corruption and nepotism. After his demise it is now headed by his son Kuldip Bishnoi.

In 2011, in spite of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal's intense campaign against him, Bishnoi, with the help of the BJP, won the Hisar by-election.

Apna Dal: The party has become a significant possession of the NDA since it helps Narendra Modi, personally, to improve his standing in the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat where, out of five assembly constituencies, two -- Rohania and Sevapuri -- are dominated by Kurmis.

The Apna Dal was founded by Dr Sone Lal Patel in 1995 to garner Kurmi votes. After his death in a road accident his wife Krishna Patel and daughter Anupriya Patel, the MLA from Rohania, lead the party.

Anupriya's importance is so high for BJP strategist Amit Shah that he convinced the BJP to give Apna Dal two Lok Sabha seats, Mirzapur and Pratapgarh, as quid pro quo for her active support in Varanasi.

National People's Party (India): Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Aitok Sangma's newly launched outfit in Meghalaya. He formed the party after he was expelled from the NCP.

Naga People's Front: The NPF has an old alliance with the BJP and their coalition has ruled Nagaland for a long time. Neiphiu Rio of the NPF, the three-time chief minister, is the NDA candidate in Nagaland.

United Democratic Front: A unique front that has nominated Robert Romawia Royte as its candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat of Mizoram to defeat the ruling Congress party.

The UDF is formed by the Mizo National Front, the Mizoram People's Conference, the Zoram Nationalist Party, the Maraland Democratic Front, the Hmar People's Convention, the Paite Tribes Council, the BJP and the NCP in Aizawl. It has agreed that Royte, if elected, would join the National Democratic Alliance in Parliament.

Manipur People's Party: The breakaway group of the Congress was founded way back in 1968, but is in a bad shape now. It supports the BJP in the state.

Gorkha Janmukti Morcha: Bimal Gurung, after his separation from Subhas Ghisingh, founded this party. It supported the BJP's Jaswant Singh in Darjeeling in 2009 but was dissatisfied with his poor performance in the outgoing Lok Sabha. Still, Gurung has thought it fit to once again support the BJP candidate, S S Ahluwalia in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.

Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party: The MGP ruled Goa after the end of Portuguese rule in 1961, working on regional aspirations, but is now on the downslide. It is headed by Deepak Dhavlikar, an MLA and cabinet minister in Panjim's coalition government.

Jana Sena Party: It is the latest regional political party to join the NDA. Its founder is Pawan Kalyan, a Modi-fan who is also a big star and director in Telugu films. More importantly, he is the younger brother of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi who merged his own party with the Congress and is now regretting it.

Needhi Katchi: The Justice Party (previously known as the New Justice Party) is one more caste-based party from Tamil Nadu and is headed by A C Shanmugham, who left the All India Anna DMK to form the party in 2001. He represents the Mudaliar community and criticises the Vanniyars for exploiting the state through monopolising political power, and is against Dr Ramadoss's PMK.

Interestingly, both parties are part of the NDA.

Image: Narendra Modi with the TDP's Nara Chandrababu Naidu, left, second row, and Telugu movie star Pawan Kalyan, right. To Modi's right is BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu. Photograph: PTI Photo.

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