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NDA 3.0 propped up 3 unreliable allies

BJP clinched the 2024 elections by 3 key alliances. Imaginge todays results without TDP, JDU & JDS. NDA would have been in deep trouble without these three key deals. But how reliable are they. None of the three were part of NDA a year before the elections.

Nitish Kumar of JDU is the most notorius for jumping parties. Everyone thought he would sufer in this elections because of loss of credibility. But he has performed way better than BJP in the 2024 lok sabha elections giving him immense influence within NDA.

Kumar first entered politics as a member of the Janata Dal, becoming an MLA in 1985. A socialist, Kumar founded the Samata Party in 1994 along with George Fernandes. In 1996 he was elected to the Lok Sabha, and served as a Union Minister in the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, with his party joining the National Democratic Alliance. In 2003 his party merged into the Janata Dal (United), and Kumar became its leader. In 2005, the NDA won a majority in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, and Kumar became chief minister heading a coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the 2010 state elections, the governing coalition won re-election in a landslide. In June 2013, Kumar broke with the BJP after Narendra Modi was named as their candidate for prime minister, and formed the Mahagathbandhan, a coalition with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and Indian National Congress and joined in United Progressive Alliance. On 17 May 2014, Kumar resigned as chief minister after the party suffered severe losses in the 2014 Indian general election, and was replaced by Jitan Ram Manjhi. However, he attempted to return as chief minister in February 2015, sparking a political crisis that eventually saw Manjhi resign and Kumar become chief minister again. Later that year, the Mahagathbandhan won a large majority in the state elections. In 2017, Kumar broke with the RJD over corruption allegations and returned to the NDA, leading another coalition with the BJP; at the 2020 state elections his government was narrowly reelected. In August 2022, Kumar left the NDA, rejoining the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance) and UPA. In January 2024, Kumar left the Mahagathbandhan once again and rejoined the NDA.

Now it has to be seen if he will stick to NDA till 2029. Now he does not have that much leeway to make u-turn again since it will erode his image but with Nitish Kumar we can never be sure.

Chandrababu Naidu has been labelled u-turn babu by modi himself when he abondoned NDA. He has always punched above his weight by playing a critical role in the formation of multiple governments at the center. He has been part of Congress led alliances, BJP led alliances and thid front alliances. BJP was apprehensive of making a deal with him till the last minute due to this very factor that they percieved him as unreliable but they had to relent in the end as it had to partner with him to cover the losses it expected in the north.

Chandrababu Naidu's involvement in national politics during 1996–2004 dominated by non-Congress coalition politics in Delhi is notable. In the aftermath of the 1996 parliamentary elections, he assumed the role of convenor for the United Front, a coalition comprising 13 political parties that secured power at the centre. The coalition government was headed by H.D. Deve Gowda and later I.K. Gujral between 1996 and 1998. The United Front had its headquarters at Andhra Pradesh Bhavan in New Delhi. Subsequently, Chandrababu Naidu's significance in national affairs got amplified after the 1999 Lok Sabha elections as he joined NDA. The TDP and the BJP, which had a pre-poll understanding in the state, together won 36 MPs out of 42. The BJP emerged as the largest single party in the Lok Sabha. The TDP extended the support of 29 of its MPs to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by A.B.Vajpayee. TDP did not join the government, extending only ‘issue-based support’. Naidu claimed that though Vajpayee had offered eight cabinet berths to his party, the TDP stayed away from the union cabinet and offered external support to the NDA government. 2004 he went alone and lost. 2009 he had alliance with BRS and still lost. 2014 he joined NDA and came back to power. in 2018 he left NDA and allied with INC in 2018 Telangana elections. in 2019 elections he lost power and moved closer to left but by 2024 elections he joined the NDA bandwagon.

So where will Chandrababu be by 2029 is not an easy guess. However if BJP is in power in center and considering the cases against him he may not dare abondon the NDA ship.

Another key alliance that is helping NDA 3.0 possible is JDS. BJP & JDS were fighting against each other in 2023 Karantaka assembly elections. After both of them lost to INC they quickly patched up an alliance and that helped them rack up a majortity in Karnataka in 2024 lok sabha polls and therefore Devegowda holds key power in NDA now.

Gowda joined the Indian National Congress party in 1953 and remained a member until 1962. In 1962, Gowda was elected to the Karnataka Legislative Assembly from Holenarasipura constituency as an independent candidate. He joined the Congress (O) during the Congress split and served as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. Gowda was the two time President of state unit of the Janata Party. He served as a minister in the Janata Party Government in Karnataka headed by Ramakrishna Hegde from 1983 to 1988. When V P Singh joined Janata Dal, Subramanian Swamy formed Janata Party (Jaya Prakash) faction, and Deve Gowda joined him to become Janata Party (JP)'s Karnataka President. But he lost from Holenarasipur in 1989, and soon later rejoined Janata Dal. He became President of the state unit of Janata Dal in 1994. When the United Front (a conglomeration of non-Congress and non-BJP regional parties) decided to form the Government at the Centre with the support of the Congress, Deve Gowda was unexpectedly chosen to head the government and became the 11th Prime Minister of India. The 2004 elections in Karnataka witnessed the revival of his party's fortunes under the leadership of Siddaramaiah with the Janata Dal (Secular) winning 58 seats and becoming a part of the ruling coalition in the state. Later, the party joined with the BJP and formed an alternate government in 2006. His son H. D. Kumaraswamy headed the BJP-JD(S) coalition government in the state for 20 months. In 2008, JDS did not transfer the power to BJP with B. S. Yediyurappa as CM in accord to the initial negotiation.

So as BJP has said till last year Gowda is an unreliable leader. But now they are dependent on him. If state CM is a offered by INC it is very likely he will switch sides. But INC never showed that zeal to sacrifice states to get central power. So BJP has to depend on that hope to keep JDS in NDA till 2029.