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Lok Sabha results : Naidu and Nitish poised as king-makers, as BJP struggles to secure majority



Lok Sabha results : Naidu and Nitish poised as king-makers, as BJP struggles to secure majority

As the BJP appears likely to fall short of the majority mark, the formation of a new Narendra Modi government may hinge on the support of two veteran political figures — Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal (United) (JD-U), both allies within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

According to trends released by the Election Commission of India (ECI) at 4:15 pm, the BJP was leading or had won 244 seats, nearly 30 seats shy of the 272 needed for a majority. The TDP was leading or had won 16 seats, all in Andhra Pradesh, while the JD(U) was leading or had won 14 seats, all in Bihar.

If these trends hold, Naidu and Nitish could be pivotal in supporting Narendra Modi’s return to power in New Delhi. Here is a brief overview of their political careers and significance.

Chandrababu Naidu

Naidu, who contested the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh in alliance with the BJP and Jana Sena Party, has a history of playing kingmaker. In 1996, when the Lok Sabha elections resulted in a fractured mandate, Naidu, as the convenor of the United Front (a coalition of parties unaffiliated with Congress or BJP), supported the H. D. Deve Gowda government with Congress’s outside backing. Emerging as the largest NDA partner, Naidu could once again play a crucial role in reviving his party after recent setbacks.

Nitish Kumar

A seasoned politician in Bihar’s social justice landscape, Nitish Kumar has held several key ministerial positions in past NDA governments. As Union Minister for Railways, Surface Transport, and later Agriculture under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Nitish was a significant NDA figure in Bihar, leading the alliance to win 20 seats in 2009 when the BJP underperformed nationally. However, his political journey has seen several shifts. In 2014, he broke away from the NDA over Narendra Modi’s rise, contested alone, and won just two seats. He then allied with Lalu Yadav for the 2015 Assembly elections, winning decisively. Within two years, he rejoined the NDA, leading the alliance to a sweeping victory in Bihar’s 2019 Lok Sabha elections, winning 39 out of 40 seats.

As the BJP navigates its shortfall, the roles of Naidu and Nitish will be critical in shaping the next government.