Two insightful views on the Orissa developments in the Indian Express. First Pratap Bhanu Mehta on the structural issues:
...Whenever a national party like the BJP or Congress aligns with a regional party, the national party begins to lose in the long run.
...The BJP is seriously flailing. The party’s central command has no willingness or ability to tame and discipline its units in different states. ...contrary to the image L.K. Advani wants to project nationally, the BJP has also brought an extraordinarily polarising politics to the state. What sets the BJP apart is this. It not only upsets various political relationships. It is the one party whose presence can produce new and unsettling forms of social polarisation
...We are also beginning to see two political phenomena: diminishing anti-incumbency at the level of states, and the increased importance of performance at the state level. This is giving state-level parties even more confidence to go it alone.
...BJD’s walking out diminishes Advani’s authority further. The BJD can still come back to the BJP post poll. But the truth is that Advani’s reputation as a figure of conciliation and charisma has taken a beating. While Vajpayee attracted allies and confidence, even in difficult times, Advani will find it difficult to keep the flock together. The BJP is in serious crisis. But it is by no means out. It needs to hunker down.
Read the full article here: Allies Like These
And Swapan Dasgupta provides a BJP-insider perspective:
...Patnaik was concerned that the BJP no longer had the clout to put up a meaningful fight against the Congress. He genuinely feared that an indifferent BJP performance would lead to the alliance losing its majority in the assembly. Based on the elections to local bodies, he calculated that the BJD was now the number one party in Orissa, strong enough to defeat the fractured challenge of the Congress and BJP.
...By showing the BJP the door, Patnaik has taken a calculated gamble. The response to his public meetings in the past three months has convinced him that the Rs 2/kg rice programme will pay handsome electoral dividends, as it did for the BJP in Chhattisgarh, and allow him to also undercut the Congress’s social constituency. If his audacity pays off, he wins a third term and national compulsions deem it fit, he can move back to the NDA — with honour, on better terms and unencumbered by local baggage. He doesn’t belong in a rag-tag Third Front.
Full article: In Cold Blood