Regional parties quiet on Modi issue

While the chief ministers — Mamata Banerjee, Jayalalithaa, Naveen Patnaik — are silently watching the developments in the BJP, which seems close to power at the Centre after a gap of 10 years, heavyweight regional players, like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati and Chandrababu Naidu, are not enthused by Narendra Modi’s elevation as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
Mr Modi will have to take on over half-a-dozen Opposition chief ministers in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Kerala, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir and the Congress party in rest of the states, simultaneously.
The regional players cannot be his pre-poll allies for obvious reasons. And after polls, the game could be totally different from what Mr Modi’s spin doctors are thinking.
If Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar quit the NDA because of Mr Modi’s anti-minority face, the same factor is keeping Ms Mamata Banerjee, Mr Naveen Patnaik, Ms Mayawati, Mr Chandrababu Naidu away from him.
Baring the INLD, no regional party sees a pre-poll alliance with Mr Modi.
The BJP expects to gain in Uttar Pradesh through hardline Hindutva while foreseeing that a division in the secular votes would increase numbers in Bihar.
Mr Modi’s managers in the BJP says his “strong personality” will be the party’s trump card and the regional players would be compelled to back him after the elections.
But they are ignoring that Mr Modi’s “strong personality” which is seen as anti-minority, could bring arch rivals Trinamul Congress and the Left, JD(U) and the RJD, SP and the BSP together in the post poll situation.
The TDP and the YSR Congress have already made clear that they cannot support a party with a hardline face.
Meanwhile, the Congress on Monday took potshots at the NDA government’s foreign policy, a day after BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi attacked the Centre for “mishandling” the recent border troubles with Pakistan and China.

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