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Today Date : Friday, April 19, 2024

Will BJP's approach towards South Indian states change?

Will BJP's approach towards South Indian states change?

In the ongoing Karnataka state assembly elections, the BJP has suffered a huge failure. Out of the total 224 seats, the party has managed to win 66 seats. Due to this defeat, the party is not in power in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana in South India.]
"BJP has been completely removed from the Dravidian landscape," Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.k.Stalin has tweeted. Many on social media are also expressing the same opinion. As far as the 2023 Karnataka state assembly election is concerned, this election is as important for the Congress as it is for the BJP.
For the Congress, a victory in the Karnataka state election was essential to face the 2024 elections with confidence. For the BJP, its rule in Karnataka was instrumental in breaking its image as a party for Hindi-speaking states. So the party wanted to retain it. However, due to this defeat, the state parties and the Congress in South India can once again portray the BJP as a North Indian party.
Karnataka is the only state that BJP is strong in South India. The party's position in other southern states is not sayable.
In the 2019 parliamentary elections, BJP won 24 of the total 28 constituencies in Karnataka hence, the state has a very important place in BJP's calculations for the Lok Sabha elections. But the Congress hopes that the results of these assembly elections will reverberate in the Lok Sabha elections as well. But the BJP leaders are saying that the assembly election results will not affect the parliament.
This is a setback for the BJP which has projected itself as an invincible party.
While alliances have broken up in states like Bihar and Maharashtra, BJP has won a significant number of seats in South India.  The party currently holds 28 seats (24 in Karnataka, 4 in Telangana) out of 140 parliamentary seats in South India. Retaining these 28 seats in the 2024 elections will be a major challenge for the party.
But the bigger challenge than all these is the impact that the result of the Karnataka assembly elections will at the national level concerning the image of the BJP's party. The defeat would lead many to criticize it as once again a party for Hindi-speaking states, with no state in power in South India. 26 km in Karnataka state with huge protest. The fact that Prime Minister Modi's 26 kms long road show  has not paid off will also raise questions about the BJP's supposed ability to face elections.
The BJP, which is facing the elections for the entire country with the Ram temple, hatred towards Muslims and religious slogans as its main issues, can re-examine its style after the defeat of this election.
For South India, there is a lot of support for employment, welfare schemes etc. BJP made some promises like this in the Karnataka state election. However, its basic ideology presupposes the opposite - a gigantic development agenda. Realizing this, the Congress announced many free schemes for women like free bus, free rice and entitlements for women.
Similarly, the BJP has put its hands on the regional pride that is unique to South India. Home Minister Amit Shah's speech on Nandini Pal seems to have offended Kannada pride. Congress has used it very well to its advantage.
It remains to be seen whether BJP's attitude towards South India will change after this defeat!