The decision of the Janata Dal (United) to leave the NDA announced by party president Sharad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has understandably provoked sharp reaction in the media. Deccan Herald (17 June) called it “a big blow to the BJP-led alliance” and “its timing should be a matter of considerable worry” for the party. Stating that “Nitish will have to walk a tight rope to succeed in the Lok Sabha polls” the paper said that talking of forming a federal front on a third front of regional parties which have nothing in common among them “will only be a fractious grouping without a glue to bind it”.
The New Indian Express (17 June) thought that “It is clear that many BJP leaders are more interested in Prime Ministership than in defeating the Congress” but added that “the only consolation for the megalomaniac BJP leaders is that the ruling Congress has been equally haughty in dealing with its allies”. The paper said that “though coalition politics has come to stay, the two main political parties are still clueless about how to handle their allies and “they must follow coalition dharma based on an acceptable code of conduct and agenda”. The Hindu (17 June) was critical of Modi saying that the relationship of Bihar in NDA has ended “not on a point of principle, though that is the JDU’s claimed reason” but “become a metaphor for divisive sectarian politics” and criticised the RSS for “being disingenuous in rebuking the JD(U) for presuming Mr Modi would run for Prime Ministership”.
The Asian Age (17 June) said India has reached “the end of a fatiguing era in oppositional politics” and “significant re-allignments could be on the cards” even while the break-up leaves the BJP bereft of the only ‘secular’ ally that soldiered on with it after 2004”. The JD(U), said the paper “could not abide with the RSS’s meddling in the BJP’s affairs to the extent of influencing the NDA as well”.
Hindustan Times (17 June) felt that “Nitish Kumar had little choice other than parting with his saffron ally” since the projection of Mr Modi as leader of the BJP “would be incompatible with his fundamental belief”. The paper thought that the BJP obviously “calculates that it will have new allies when it shows its strength” and “the only way to attain that strength is by letting Mr Modi lead a campaign across the country”. That calculation, said the paper, “is partly true”. “While Mr. Modi’s leadership is essential for a party that has been lethargic and ineffective, the same is causing friction with the allies (and) this is a dilemma that the BJP will not find easy to resolve”, the paper concluded.
The Guwahati-based The Sentinel (13 June) said “Modi has to his credit a stupendous t