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Confident BJP, Congress fight for allies

By Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Last updated on: May 15, 2009 17:02 IST
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Are the Bharatiya Janata Party's talks with the Telugu Desam Party and Biju Janata Dal progressing well?

It's around 3 pm in New Delhi and the temperature is 42 degrees Celsius. If the weather is the irritant here, the countdown to the last hours before the results to know who will rule India is nerve-breaking. It is tough to guess the political mood correctly because both the Congress and BJP are super-confident of forming the next government.

At the time of filing of this report reliable sources within the BJP claim they have no doubt that the National Democratic Alliance will emerge as the single largest pre-poll alliance so talks with the TDP and BJD have began and the signs are positive.

The source refused to divulge who are the mediators, but said that they are all not political leaders.

Independently, so far,, has been unable to verify the claim but there is no doubt that the BJP is disregarding the exit polls some of which give a clear edge to the Congress.

The Congress is so confident of forming the government that they have started telling the media that the idea of the Third Front is dead and the United Progressive Alliance government with few fresh allies is all set for power again.

The BJP believes that like in 2004, the exit polls will prove wrong and they will emerge as the single largest party. If by chance, it is not the single largest party then the pre-poll alliance of the NDA (BJP, Janata Dal-United, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena and Assam Gana Parishad) will be larger than the Congress or the UPA. Interestingly, this idea is not dismissed by all within the UPA.

A senior BJP leader told, "Only if the Left parties get 45 seats or more will the BJP not be able to form the government!"

In this election season, this is the first time this correspondent has heard such a 'defeatist' comment from someone in the BJP.

But Congressmen say, "The Congress will get more allies than the BJP because once you start searching for allies, the Congress searches from a position of strength unlike the BJP. The Left parties, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mulayam Singh Yadav will never be with the BJP and that gives the Congress an edge that the BJP can't boast of."

Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel, who is back making the rounds of television studios from his constituency of Gondia, told that if the Congress gets anything above 160/165 seats then it is difficult to conceive any other government but the UPA.

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Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi