As L K Advani and top BJP leaders finalised options for forming the next government if the party’s tally crossed the 160 mark, the party appeared wary of taking the support of the BSP while looking forward to a positive response from the southern parties.
The option of approaching Mayawati did not find favour with many senior leaders weighing pros and cons of taking help from a ‘recalcitrant’ leader who could only jeopardise the BJP’s renewed hopes in Uttar Pradesh.
Any tie-up with the BSP, the leaders argued, would nullify gains made in the last few months in the state, which was likely to bring more seats this time compared to 2004. However, they agreed that interlocuters should be in touch with her party.
Meanwhile, Advani, BJP chief Rajnath Singh and Arun Jaitley appeared unperturbed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s statement that the “basis of our support” will be to a government at the Centre that would give special status to Bihar.
As Advani stayed in touch with Nitish and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, Rajnath played down Nitish’s statement, which lends itself to various interpretations ahead of government formation.
“Nitish Kumar is a seasoned politician. Whatever he has said is right. He knows that only the NDA can provide Bihar with such a package,” said Rajnath, adding that he clarified that the JD(U) was with the NDA and would remain with it.
The BJP circulated Advani’s campaign speeches pledging a package for Bihar.
Advani met INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala and RLD chief Ajit Singh to brief them on how the BJP proposed to approach the post-poll scenario. The BJP Parliamentary Board will meet at 5 pm to take stock of the results.
Venkaiah Naidu, who is talking to TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and the TRS, returned from Hyderabad to convey to Advani that the TDP would not have a problem backing the BJP in the event of its tally becoming impressive.