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BJP's rise cuts into the surge of state satraps

Author: TNN
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 1, 2014
URL: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/BJPs-rise-cuts-into-the-surge-of-state-satraps/articleshow/34447701.cms

BJP's rise in states where it has a modest record is threatening to upset calculations of state satraps like J Jayalalitha, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee who were seen as bankable favorites.

 Though all three remain in the reckoning as potential allies or core components in any third front, their pre-election ratings have taken a bit of a beating in the face of an unexpected saffron challenge.

 In view their hold on state politics, BJD, AIADMK and Trinamool Congress were integral to all political permutations and Jayalalitha and Mamata were seen as leaders commanding a phalanx of 25-30 MPs.

 Of the three, Mamata might still be poised to end up with a high tally as though BJP's graph is winging upwards, it may not win many seats and the main opposition Left is not looking to gain much either.

 But Trinamool's all out attack on BJP leader Narendra Modi in response to his allegation that a scamster paid Rs 1.8 crore of a Mamata painting indicates that the regional party is feeling the heat.

 BJP's bid to tap incumbency, particularly in urban areas, against Trinamool and the resentment against illegal immigration in border areas pose a serious challenge to Mamata and can dent her 30 plus target.

 Diminished tallies could suit BJP in a post-poll scene if the party were to form a government as dealing with allies who are far from retiring about flexing political muscle would keep the Centre on tenterhooks.

 Hoping to maximize returns, the parties ran into an unanticipated incumbency. And while they kept aloof from BJP due to concerns about minority support, they will wonder if an alliance might have suppressed incumbency.

 Wary about placing all her bets on Narendra Modi, Jayalalitha decided against a pre-poll alliance with BJP even as she also considered the possibility of assuming the leadership of a post-election coalition.

 Her assumption that her fight is with a weakened DMK proved a miscalculation with reports suggesting her Dravidian rival has held its own and the BJP-DMDK-MDMK-PMK alliance has put up a sprightly show.

 DMK's apparent revival could mean that the saffron alliance will not win many seats, but it denies Amma the brute edge over her main rival at a time when DMK is wracked by an intense family feud.

Pitch reports indicate Patnaik is likely to just about return to office in Odisha, but could find it hard to grab 16-18 of Odisha's 21 Lok Sabha seats that seemed a probability as recently as March.
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