As the saying goes, when troubles come, they come not in single spies but in battalions. Today, that dictum seems to apply to the BJP which is buffeted by troubles. In the latest case, the twists and turns in its relations with its allies seem to be never-ending. After much dilly dallying, the Janata Dal (U) led by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar finally came to a seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP in a deal that distinctly amounted to bending over backwards to appease the new ally.
Now comes the statement of Basistha N Singh, the JD (U) president, that his party is unlikely to back the government on the triple talaq bill in its current form. It apparently favours the Opposition stand led by the Congress for the bill to be sent to a select committee for further deliberation which is what the government and the BJP have been opposing.
Implicit in Singh’s statement is the charge that the BJP had not consulted its allies before deciding on the course of action. Indeed, Singh made it clear that his party’s stand was that every stakeholder should be consulted on issues like the triple talaq bill. Evidently, the JD (U) is wary of losing the Muslim vote in being identified with the BJP whose Hindutva credentials are not unknown.
Apart from JD (U), the AIADMK and Telangana Rashtriya Samithi, which are inclined towards the BJP, too are likely to abstain on the triple talaq vote in the Rajya Sabha on account of the same fear of alienating Muslim men. In the circumstances, the NDA would be hard put to garnering the numbers to get the Bill passed in the Upper House.
Desperate efforts are on to convince other parties to vote with the BJP but the prospects of the Bill clearing the Rajya Sabha are slim. The likelihood is that seeing the deficiency in numbers, the BJP may opt for a debate but not press for a vote. While that would be a victory of sorts for the Opposition, it is untested whether the Muslim women’s vote will gowith the BJP en masse and whether that would boost its tally.
The BJP’s troubles on the Shiv Sena front too appear to be substantial with the Sena criticizing most of the policy moves of the BJP and insisting that it would not tie up with that party in the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP would indeed have to work hard to bring more parties under the fold of the NDA.