Mumbai: Negotiations are underway in Maharashtra with Raj Thackeray, the Chief of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and cousin of former CM Uddhav Thackeray. Simultaneously, the BJP has extended an offer of four seats to Jayant Chaudhary, the President of Rashtriya Lok Dal, who is aligned with the SP in Uttar Pradesh.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set ambitious targets of 370 seats for the BJP and 400 seats for the NDA in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. When PM Modi confidently announced these goals in the Lok Sabha, it drew attention and criticism from the opposition. Presently, the BJP is actively engaging in political maneuvers to realize these targets, including ongoing discussions with Raj Thackeray in Maharashtra and the potential inclusion of Jayant Chaudhary into the NDA alliance.
Leaders from Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) engaged in discussions with Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis at his official residence in Maharashtra, sparking heightened speculation of a potential alliance with the BJP ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Raj Thackeray has entrusted MNS leaders Bala Nandgaonkar, Sandeep Deshpande, and Nitin Sardesai with the responsibility of further negotiations on seat sharing.
In another development, the opposition's INDI Alliance may face a setback as Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) leader Jayant Choudhary is reportedly in talks with the BJP for a prospective alliance in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The BJP has proposed four Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh—Kairana, Baghpat, Mathura, and Amroha—to the RLD. Speculation increased as Jayant Choudhary met a senior BJP leader in Delhi on Tuesday, indicating a potential collaboration between the two parties ahead of the crucial elections.
Jayant Choudhary, a key ally of the Samajwadi Party (SP) led by Akhilesh Yadav, potentially shifting to the BJP would deal another blow to the opposition. Currently, Choudhary appears to be distancing himself from the alliance, evident in the postponement of a rally in Chhaprauli, Uttar Pradesh, where his grandfather Chaudhary Charan Singh's statue was to be unveiled. There are also discussions about Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the rally if an agreement is reached between the BJP and RLD. Tensions between SP and RLD arose when disagreements emerged over three areas—Muzaffarnagar, Bijnor, and Kairana—where the SP expressed its desire to field candidates under the RLD banner during the seat-sharing negotiations held on January 19. The SP has announced candidates for 16 seats, while the Congress has been offered 11 seats.
In Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu Naidu is expressing a keen interest in renewing ties with the BJP and rejoining the NDA. Simultaneously, the YSR Congress is open to joining the NDA but with the condition that the BJP does not accept the TDP. This presents a favorable situation for the BJP, with the Akali Dal also considering rejoining the NDA in the near future. Uddhav Thackeray seems to be making statements to ease tensions with the BJP, prompting Raj Thackeray to expedite talks with the BJP, positioning himself ahead of Uddhav in the political queue. Ajit Pawar has assumed the charge of the NCP, making it less likely for him to leave the NDA again. In Bihar, Nitish Kumar has already joined the NDA, so has Deve Gowda's party in Karnataka.