The race for a new President and vice-president has left behind hard political lessons for BJP ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls, senior party leaders say.
One of the main lessons, they concede, is that it is difficult to beat the Congress at its game of managing contradictions and recalcitrant allies.
Secondly, finding new allies for the BJP before or after the 2014 polls is a chimera unless BJP gets its act together to emerge as an electorally stronger formation.
Lastly, the so-called “third front” parties are as “fickle-minded” as their leaders are and can’t be counted upon, BJP leaders said.
Even the final somersault by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress on Tuesday to support UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee has only underscored the fact that parties like hers cannot resist “pressure” from the main party leading the UPA, they said.
“We have realised now that the BJP must go its own way as the main Opposition party,” said a key BJP strategist.
As he put it, “the key to our emergence will be if we succeed in retaining our present allies and notch up a tally of 180 (of the 543 seats) in the next LS polls, new allies will come to us automatically.” Otherwise, he conceded that the BJP's task will be an uphill one.
The efforts to find new partners for the NDA in the presidential poll began when LK Advani attempted to widen its base and reach out to ADMK and BJD. Senior BJP leaders went back and forth in trying to persuade ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam after signals from TMC and the SP favoured his name.
But the Congress ensured that the SP parted company with Mamata to support Mukherjee. Mayawati's BSP too decided to back the Congress.
The biggest blow for the BJP was an important ally like the JD-U pitched for Mukherjee and Shiv Sena also switched sides.
But, more shock was in store for Advani and others when even Jayalalithaa lost interest in PA Sangama’s candidature. BJP leaders waited for the vice-president poll. “We realised that it was an opportunity to correct our mistake and project a picture of unity," a BJP leader said.