4 December 2020 is a watershed moment for the politics of South India. The results of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Council (GHMC) elections have given a buoyant fillip to BJP, which is looking to fulfill its ambitions of winning South India. According to reports, TRS managed to win 55, AIMIM 44 whereas BJP has won a totall of 48 seats, and Congress 2.
The fact that BJP had only won 4 seats in the 2016 elections and therefore, this quantum leap is nothing short of astronomical.
BJP eeking out AIMIM and taking away considerable vote share of TRS ought to send shudders across the opposition state units. Congress, which always mocked BJP for having negligible presence down south has been served a whipping slap that after the Bihar debacle, even Hyderabad is not willing to accept Congress as a worthy political party.
Hyderabad, which Asaduddin Owaisi claims to be his bastion, has one way or another been breached by BJP and if these elections are any indication, both Owaisi and KCR would have to wake up from their deep slumbers and pull up their socks, for the appeasement politics can only work to an extent. The tidal Modi wave has engulfed the fiercest of political opponents.
BJP’s critics always have had one argument that despite winning the country, the saffron party has not been able to penetrate South India. However, this time around, BJP unloaded the biggies and stalwarts to the Municipal elections to change that narrative. From Amit Shah to JP Nadda to Yogi Adityanath–BJP went all out to give the Municipal elections, the same priority as any assembly or national election.
“Give one chance to the BJP in the GHMC elections. We shall transform from dynasty rule to democratic rule, from corruption to good governance, from secrecy to transparency. We shall transform Hyderabad into a Mini Bharat and not be stuck in Nawabi and Nizami culture,” Shah had said after one of his roadshows in the city
BJP is a resurgent force in Telangana. The party bagged the second-highest number of seats in the Greater Hyderabad region in the 2019 general elections along with winning the Secunderabad seat. Besides, BJP also won three more seats and emerged as the second-largest party of the state, winning four seats out of 17. Moreover, the party even won the Dubbak assembly by-polls where KCR tried his level best to malign the BJP candidate by unleashing the entire state machinery behind him.
BJP has been given a booster shot of confidence that it has the firepower to breach the bastion of non-BJP forces. While Hyderabad brought some good news, it was Tamil Nadu which compounded BJP’s hopes of ushering the saffron flag in the southern states of the country.
Tamil Superstar Rajnikanth, putting an end to his long-awaited arrival, announced on Twitter that he will launch his political party in January next year. This decision comes ahead of the State Assembly Elections which are scheduled to take place in the summer of 2021. Since the announcement, there have been ripe developments to indicate how a BJP-Rajnikanth alliance may be on the cards, and how it may prove to be beneficial for both sides.
Rajnikanth has introduced Ra Arjunamurthy, former president of the BJP State Unit’s Intellectual Wing, as the chief coordinator of his fans’ association. Arjunamurthy had resigned from his position just a day ago, evidently to join hands with the Tamil superstar.
As for the biggest bastion of Left, the state of Kerala is seeing a resurgent BJP making rapid strides and steadily cornering the Pinarayi Vijayan government. The state organization of BJP appears to have got solid support from the youth and women of the state. Since 2014, BJP has been trying its level best to breach the last standing fortress of Left. As a result, the vote share of BJP has gone up from nil to 13 percent.
The ruling LDF party which has been rattled by BJP’s rise had even brought in a draconian ordinance that was aimed at culling Freedom of Speech (FoE) of any individual of the state. Chief Minister Vijayan came up with a sorry reason saying the decision was guided by growing abuse on social media targeting individuals—the effective translation being ‘We can’t handle some keyboard warriors coming at us and, therefore, we are going to use the entire state machinery to hound you and put you behind the bars, all whilst keeping the important things as ‘governing the state’ on the back burner’.
It was after the BJP leaders started mounting serious opposition to the draconian law that the Kerala government decided not to implement the amended Kerala Police Act. From the failed Kerala health model that couldn’t even compete with Bihar to the fascist gag order—the fall and fall of the Pinarayi Vijayan government has been spectacular, to say the least.
With Kerala set to hold three-phased local body polls from next week, youthful state BJP unit President K Surendran has sounded extremely confident that the party will win twice the seats it has currently.
“We expect to win twice the seats of what we have. At present, we hold around 1,200 of the total 21,000 seats. We will do very well in five districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Palakkad, and Kasargode.” said Surendran in an interview.
If these developments are closely monitored then one can infer with relative ease that BJP is making some solid moves in the Southern region of the country and if Amit Shah’s tactical acumen is anything to go by, the 2024 General assembly elections could return bumper seats for the party. BJP has started off on the right foot, for the time being but the real challenge will present itself in the Assembly elections.