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Mission 400+ | Hurdles And Hopes: Why Is Lotus Not Blooming In The South?

BJP boasts of mission 400+ for Lok Sabha elections 2024 but the journey seems to be a mix of hurdles and hopes with northern part having more seat share than south. Will lotus bloom in South India?

Edited By : Anurradha Prasad | Updated: Feb 12, 2024 15:01 IST
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BJP in South
BJP in South

For most people interested in politics, parliamentary democracy, and elections, there’s one question dominating their minds: What will happen in 2024? How many seats will the BJP secure in the Lok Sabha? Is the political scenario in South India similar to that in North India? A successful leader is one who understands their strengths and weaknesses on the ground.

Politics and time both continue to progress at their own pace. Politicians and the common man alike continue to seek better opportunities for themselves within this flow. Intellectuals and political pundits are constantly working to analyse the situation based on results. In understanding the dynamics of 2024, it’s crucial to mention two events. First, the results of the assembly elections – announced on December 3, 2023, where the lotus bloomed in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh, while people placed their trust in the Congress in Telangana. The second event is the inauguration ceremony of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22nd this year. The nation experienced an incredible, unimaginable atmosphere of Ram Bhakti. This suggests that while a political tsunami seems to be brewing in the northern states in favour of the BJP, astute pundits understand that a political saga is unfolding in the name of Ram.

The BJP is also grasping this reality. Perhaps that’s why engaging in discussions with Nitish Kumar in Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats, seemed like an easy path for the BJP in 2024. In Uttar Pradesh, with its 80 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP appears to be gaining momentum. It’s also true that the BJP is at its peak in the Hindi belt states. Therefore, increasing seats for the BJP in North India compared to 2019 isn’t easy. This means that in order to achieve the target of 400+, the BJP needs to focus on South India.

Beginning with Karnataka, where the BJP has been in power several times before; currently, the Congress governs Karnataka, but in recent months, the BJP has been focusing particularly on the state. They have entrusted the reins to B.S. Yediyurappa’s son, B.Y. Vijayendra. Efforts are underway to bring back disgruntled leaders to the party fold. So, first, let’s understand the dynamics of South India on the map.

In 2019, out of Karnataka’s 28 Lok Sabha seats, the BJP secured 25. This time, there’s a possibility of a tough competition between the BJP and Congress on every seat. Janata Dal (Secular), led by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, has also boarded the NDA ship. The impact of JD(S) seemed to diminish in the last assembly elections. Now, JD(S) is calculating its strength by forming an alliance with the BJP. Similarly, in Telangana, Revanth Reddy of the Congress is determined to halt the BJP’s victory chariot. However, in recent years, the way the BJP has been working in Telangana shows that the party is on its way to becoming the second-largest party in the state, leaving TRS behind. Out of the state’s 17 Lok Sabha seats, only four were won by the BJP in 2019.

The BJP’s presence in Andhra Pradesh is currently very low. In recent years, Jaganmohan Reddy’s stature in the state’s politics has grown significantly. As a result, TDP and Congress are sweating profusely to save their political ground in Andhra Pradesh. It means there are still many obstacles in the BJP’s path in Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, amidst the political turmoil in Tamil Nadu, the BJP seems to be opening doors for opportunities. Dravidian politics dominates in Tamil Nadu, influenced by figures like C.N. Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran, M. Karunanidhi, and J. Jayalalitha. After Jayalalitha’s demise, her party AIADMK split into factions. In this scenario, the BJP is attempting to form an alliance by bringing back disgruntled leaders from AIADMK. Meanwhile, Stalin strongly opposed the BJP to prevent its growth.

RSS volunteers have been working in Kerala for a long time. It is believed that the inclination of Kerala’s influential Nair community is towards the BJP. Occasionally, there has been public dissatisfaction with the state’s Left government. In this situation, the BJP may pose a tough challenge on two or three Lok Sabha seats.

If we combine the Lok Sabha seats of the six southern states, it totals 130. Whereas, if we only consider the Lok Sabha seats of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Jharkhand, it sums up to 136. After 2024, when the Lok Sabha elections will be held in 2029, it’s estimated that the southern states may have even fewer seats compared to the northern states.

Politics runs on perception and narrative(s). BJP strategists understand well that maintaining a continuous dialogue and interaction with people is essential to carve out a space in their hearts. Through initiatives like the Kashi-Tamil Sangamam, PM Modi appears to be attempting to forge connections between the North and the South. Meanwhile, the opposition believes that Modi’s victory chariot can be halted in South India. However, in Indian democracy, there have been several occasions when people have startled the ruling parties with their vote(s). Whether it was dethroning Indira Gandhi after the Emergency, Congress’s defeat in 1989 after a resounding victory in 1984, or BJP’s return to power despite Shining India and Feel Good Factor. In this regard, what is on people’s minds regarding 2024? The role of the government and the opposition, and how people perceive it, will be revealed in due time.

First published on: Feb 12, 2024 02:50 PM IST

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