BJP Eyeing 2024: After Losing Grip In West Bengal, Party Focusing To Expand In South

Last year, even after trying its best, the Bharatiya Janata Party had lost the West Bengal assembly elections, and the Trinamool Congress won over 210 assembly seats, with BJP shrinking below 80. Though the saffron claimed that despite losing, its performance was excellent, as in 2016, the party was able to win just 3 seats. But, the political analysts and even the strategists of the BJP know pretty well that West Bengal election results are a big jolt to BJP, as in 2019, the saffron party, for the first time ever, won 18 Lok Sabha seats in the state, leading in around 126 assembly constituencies, and gave a tough fight to TMC – which was able to win 22 Lok Sabha seats. So, if compared to the 2019 results, when the BJP was leading in 126 assemblies, its performance worsened in the state elections.

Since after losing the assembly elections in West Bengal, the BJP has been continuously facing defections. Some of the strong leaders who joined the BJP after 2014, went back to the TMC, including Mukul Roy, Lok Sabha MP Arjun Singh, and a few BJP MLAs too, while former union minister Babul Supriyo also left the party and joined the Trinamool Congress. The BJP won 18 Lok Sabha seats from this state in 2019, but with the assembly election results and recent defections, it’s close to impossible for the party to repeat its 2019’s performance in Bengal in 2024. 

Keeping this in mind, the BJP leadership has decided to expand the party in South, where the Congress, left or the regional parties have their stronghold. Currently, except for Karnataka where the BJP is the ruling party, all the other southern states are ruled by the regional parties (Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), UPA alliance (Tamil Nadu) and the communists (Kerala). Eyeing on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s major focus apart from Karnataka, is on Telangana where K Chandrashekhar Rao’s TRS is the current ruling party. AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi hails from this state, and his party has a stronghold around the Hyderabad region. The BJP had performed very well in the local body elections in December 2020. 

Since then, the BJP has been continuously working hard in Telangana on ground zero. In 2019, the party won 4 Lok Sabha seats in this state, 3 more than its tally of 2014. Along with the Lok Sabha elections, the assembly elections in this state, will also be held in 2024. The BJP is seeing Telangana as a big chance to recover the loss it’s expecting in West Bengal. 

On the other hand, apart from Telangana, the BJP is also focusing on Tamil Nadu where it has AIADMK as its alliance partner. Currently, a political tussle is going on between both the partners. Slamming BJP, the AIADMK has said, “the policies of the Central govt are against the Tamils”. As per the internal sources, the BJP is now focusing to expand itself in Tamil Nadu, where till now, it’s a junior partner in an alliance with AIADMK. The sources claim that the BJP is in touch with former AIADMK leader Sasikala Natrajan. Party MLA Nainar Nagendran has said that ousted AIADMK leader V K Sasikala Natrajan is welcome to join them. Though the BJP’s state president K Annamalai has cleared that such decisions are taken by the parliamentary board and senior leaders.  

But with the recent developments, it’s clear that the BJP is planning to expand itself in the southern states, with a major focus on Telangana and Tamil Nadu, in the wake of the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2024. 

Tanishk A. Choubey,

Political analyst

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