For decades, BJP was termed as a party of the ‘Hindi Heartland’. But, since the Modi-Shah duo took over the helm of party affairs, it has expanded to the Eastern, Northeastern, and Southern parts of the country. In the South, the party had not had even a marginal presence except for the state of Karnataka but today it is a significant force in almost every southern state.
In Karnataka, it is a ruling party while in Telangana, the party’s performance was spectacular in the recent Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections (GHMC) as well as the 2019 general election. The party is all set to either bag the seat of power in the next assembly in Telangana or dislodge Congress as the primary opposition party.
In Andhra Pradesh, the expansion has not been very steep given the presence of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), whose ideological position is the same on most of the socio-economic issues as that of BJP. However, the party still won a significant number of votes and won 2 seats in the 2014 general election.
Now, coming to two states and Union territories where the party used to not field candidates and was always dependent on local allies – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
For the first time, BJP bagged four seats in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly. It fought with AIADMK which was on verge of collapse but anchored the alliance and made a space for itself. “The wins have laid a solid foundation for the growth of our party,” said BJP’s Tamil Nadu election in-charge C T Ravi.
The entry of BJP also brought many positive changes in the state that was infested with anti-Hindu Dravidian politics, and DMK chief MK Stalin embraced Hindu icons openly in public gatherings.
In the state of Kerala, although the party lost even one seat that it had in the Kerala legislative assembly, its vote share increased by 0.77 points to reach 11.30 per cent. Now it is the third-largest party in the state in terms of vote share and given the sad state of the Congress party, it would even dislodge them very soon to bag the position of the primary opposition party.
In Puducherry, where the party had not had even a single elected MLA before the 2021 assembly election, it has bagged 6 seats and will be a part of the ruling alliance with senior partner All Indian NR Congress (AINRC), which has won 10 seats.
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 elections could return bumper seats for the party. BJP has started off on the right foot, and the results of the assembly elections are very encouraging for the party. And, in the next few years, the party might form a government of its own in states other than Karnataka.