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BJP looks south

THE BJP is looking at the southern parties - former NDA partners AIADMK and the TDP — for cobbling up its numbers to form the next government. Shekhar Iyer reports.

india Updated: May 14, 2009 23:21 IST
Shekhar Iyer

THE BJP is looking at the southern parties - former NDA partners AIADMK and the TDP — for cobbling up its numbers to form the next government.

On Thursday, BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L.K. Advani held two strategy sessions at his residence. It was attended by party president Rajnath Singh, Jaswant Singh, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Ramlal Aggarwal, Ananth Kumar, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Balbir Punj, and S. Gurumurthy.

They were buoyed by the BJP’s own survey and reports from its state units that it will reach a tally of 160-plus and the NDA could bag 214 seats.

If the AIADMK and the TDP together win up to 50 seats, the BJP could inch closer to 272, the magic number needed to form the next government, they said.

The AIADMK is seen as a prospective ally because of her poor chemistry with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, who won’t easily give up on the present ally, the DMK.

As for TDP chief N. Chandrababi Naidu, the BJP is counting on him not to support a Congress-led government. Also with the Third Front proposal unlikely to take-off, the BJP is keen on having him on their side.

The BJP’s main problem would be addressing Jayalalithaa’s demands - the ouster of the DMK government in Tamil Nadu and the creation of a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“Jayalalithaa has herself announced that she will take a decision after May 16. And we respect her decision,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said. Prasad said the Third Front has withered even before the counting of votes and slammed CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat.