The BJP's fluctuating ties with its NDA allies saw Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha leader Manohar Joshi attend a meeting of the Opposition alliance's parliamentary party on Wednesday.
But the old ally, the Biju Janata Dal, played truant by failing to turn up, indicating that the alliance in Orissa is in trouble. Senior BJP leader Jual Oram had attacked Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in connection with the move to lease out the Khandadhar mines to South Korean steel giant POSCO in the state.
Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress also did not send its representative for the gathering called to discuss the August 10 Vice-Presidential poll. Besides Joshi, leaders such as L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sharad Yadav, and S S Dhindsa discussed the strategy to ensure none of the NDA votes meant for alliance nominee Najma Heptulla went to waste.
BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj hoped that the Shiv Sena MPs would back Heptulla, saying, "Sometimes , the presence of someone speaks louder than words."
Joshi however said the BJP would have to formally appeal for its support for Heptulla.
Ruling out this BJP appeal, other party leaders, however, said it was a chance for the Sena to establish its goodwill with the central BJP leaders who had resisted the state party leaders' plea to break the nearly 20-year-old alliance with Bal Thackeray.