Upbeat after meeting the chief ministers of the states ruled by it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claimed that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would come to power in the next Lok Sabha elections and there was no chance for the third front to form a government at the Centre.
This is the first public snub for senior BJP leader L K Advani, who had recently written a blog claiming that there was possibility of a non-Congress, non-BJP prime minister at the Centre.
“NDA will form the government after Lok Sabha elections. There is no chance for a third front government at the Centre,” said Yashwant Sinha, senior BJP leader and former finance minister.
To further get support of non-Congress parties, BJP leadership has asked its Member of Parliament Syed Shahnawaz Hussain to talk to leaders of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to try and convince them to support NDA at the Centre, even though the BJD could remain an independent party in Odisha.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik is in Delhi but senior BJD leaders suggested there was no talk of a pre-poll alliance now.
The BJP leadership is already confident that Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa would definitely support the alliance at the Centre. “Our leaders are talking to BJD, we are looking for an alliance at the Centre, while two parties need not support each other in the state. We are trying to work on the possibility of a greater alliance with BJD at the national level. The support of AIADMK is a certainty,” said a senior BJP leader after the day-long BJP chief ministers conclave in Delhi.
Most of the senior leaders of BJP, including Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and Advani, believe there is a need for better coordination with Opposition leaders and NDA should be expanded if the alliance has to come to power at the Centre after the Lok Sabha election in 2014.
The BJP-led NDA is also eyeing support from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, for which it had backed Mamata’s choice for the Presidential election — former President A P J Abdul Kalam — to win over the Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief.
Some NDA leaders, including Sharad Yadav, have been in touch with Banerjee on the issue of foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail as both parties are completely against this move of the Union government. TMC had also joined hands with Opposition leaders, including the BJP, on the issue of keeping out Lokayukta from the Lok Pal Bill, which is under consideration with the select committee of the Rajya Sabha.