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    OpinionsBJP footprint increases in all southern states except Karnataka INDI Alliance gets...

    BJP footprint increases in all southern states except Karnataka INDI Alliance gets an ominous warning in the south

    Date:

    By P. Sudhir

    The overall results of the election are certainly a setback for the BJP. Getting 240 seats, it failed to achieve the absolute majority it had gained in the 2014 and 2019 elections. Narendra Modi is now heading a Democratic Alliance (NDA) coalition government with parties like the Telugu Desam Party and the Janata Dal (United) providing the numbers for a majority in the Lok Sabha.

     

    This is one of the notable outcomes of the people's electoral verdict and it happened because the BJP suffered a major loss in Uttar Pradesh as also losses in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and West Bengal.

     

    However, when evaluating the results, the gains made by the BJP should not be ignored. Apart from its unprecedented showing in Odisha, where it won 20 out of the 21 Lok Sabha seats and an absolute majority in the assembly for the first time, what should cause concern for INDI block is the gradual advances of the BJP in the southern states.

     

    In terms of seats, it may appear that the BJP has not made any advance – it had won 29 seats in the five southern states in 2019 and now in 2024 it could only maintain the same number. But a detailed analysis state-wise and the vote share it has gained in each state provides a different picture:

     

    Telangana is a state where the BJP won 4 seats in the 2019 election, getting 19.45 per cent of the votes polled. In the 2024 election, it doubled its tally to 8 and raised its vote share substantially to 35.19 percent. The drastic fall in the BRS vote share benefited the BJP.

     

    In Karnataka, the BJP has lost ground. It had won 25 seats, polling 51.38 percent in the 2019 election. Now it has got 17 seats and its vote share fell to 46.09 percent. However, by allying with the Janata Dal (S), which got 5.64 percent of the vote, the NDA polled a combined 51.73 percent. This alliance also helped in limiting the extent of loss of seats.

     

    In Kerala, the BJP won the Thrissur seat, the first time the party has won a Lok Sabha seat in the state. The party's vote share went up from 12.9 percent in 2019 to 16.67 percent. The NDA has registered 19.2 percent – the highest ever in Kerala. The warning signal sent out by this result must be taken with the utmost seriousness by the Left and the parties having influence there.

     

    In Tamil Nadu, the BJP failed to win a single seat. Unlike in 2019, when the BJP had an alliance with the AIADMK, this time the BJP fought separately with a few allies like the PMK and splinters from the AIADMK. The BJP's vote share went up from 3.66 per cent in 2019, contesting 5 seats, to 11.24 per cent now, contesting 23 seats. It should also be noted that the BJP came second in 10 constituencies, which indicates that in some seats it was able to garner AIADMK votes.

     

    In Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP has been very weak, it has benefitted from the alliance with the TDP, getting 3 parliament seats and polling 11.29 percent of the votes. In 2019, it had got only a meagre 0.96 percent of the votes. In the 2024 assembly election, it polled a smaller percentage of 2.83 percent of the votes, but won 8 seats and would be given minister-ships in the Chandrababu Naidu government. The BJP will be hoping to expand its strength, riding piggy-back on the TDP.

     

    This brief overall sketch of the BJP's position in the five southern states reveals that there is a slow, at times halting, advance of the BJP in the southern states, other than in Karnataka, where it had established a strong base more than two decades ago. What this underlines for the opposition not to underestimate the BJP-RSS combine's capacity to occupy new ground and to retrieve spaces they have lost.

     

    The composition of the new ministry under Modi shows that all key portfolios, in addition to home, , and external affairs, have been retained by the BJP. Both through the State machinery and its organisational resources, the BJP-RSS combine will work to expand and consolidate its influence. The Left, Congress and other regional parties must evolve at the all-India level and state-wise, if they want to contain BJP in south. (IPA Service)

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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