NEW DELHI: With a three-front Opposition looming large ahead of the 2019 general elections, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah, is set to reach out to restive National Democratic Alliance constituents to iron out differences.
According to sources, Shah will be closeted with Shiv Sena Supremo Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, while the closed-door meeting with the top leadership of BJP’s oldest ally Shiromani Akali Dal is scheduled on Thursday.
This decision comes days after the Palghar by-polls where the longtime allies BJP and Sena part ways and filed separate nominations.
The BJP Chief is learnt to have brainstormed with party general secretaries over the emerging political challenges and the scale of the Opposition unity over the weekend. With the Bihar NDA allies getting vocal about issues of special category status, the BJP is seeking to address their concerns.
Meanwhile, Bihar BJP Chief Nityanand Rai has called a meeting of the NDA allies on Thursday evening, where Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is expected to be one of the attendees along with Lok Jan Shakti Party Supremo Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party Chief Upendra Kushwaha. BJP national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav and Shah may also attend the meeting, sources said.
According to political observers, the alacrity with which Shah has embarked on the outreach mission is to be seen in the context of the saffron party’s debacle in the recent by-polls and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar’s overtures to sulking NDA ally Thackeray for a pre-poll tie-up in Maharashtra for 2019 elections.
Handling Shiv Sena will be a priority for Shah as the fault lines in the fragile BJP-Sena alliance were clearly visible after the Palghar Lok Sabha by-poll verdict. Even though Sena leader Sanjay Rout had said the party would go solo in the 2019 elections, the BJP is keen to bring the restive NDA ally on board for seat-adjustment. Although the Sena had been criticising the BJP since Maharashtra Assembly elections, it hasn’t yet taken any definitive step to move out of the alliance.
Shah is also learnt to have told the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath in a meeting on Monday to address concerns of NDA allies in the state. Shah is incidentally gearing the BJP-led NDA to prepare for a “Modi versus all” 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which has made the importance of allies more pronounced.