BJP which has been termed as “Party of North” has gradually extended its presence in the southern part of India in recent times. From winning 4 seats in Telangana in 2019 Lok Sabha elections to forming government in Puducherry recently, BJP is now eyeing South Indian states. However, BJP has miserably failed in states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In the recently held elections in Tamil Nadu BJP for the first time since 2001 won 4 assembly seats in Tamil Nadu but it lost its only seat that it had won in last assembly election in Kerala.
BJP’s Mission of increasing its influence in Southern states is part of its Lok Sabha 2024 strategy. Currently BJP is power in Karnataka and is an alliance partner in Puducherry government.
Tamil Nadu is one of the states which has been tough for BJP to crack. The party formed an alliance with AIADMK, however, there has been no major change in prospects for BJP in the state. It managed to make its presence felt in Tamil Nadu assembly elections after winning four assembly seats of Modakkurichi, Coimbatore South, Tirunelveli, and Nagercoil in recently concluded Assembly election. However, the win may not be enough for BJP as its tall leaders in state lost their election.
Tamil Nadu has a total of 39 Lok Sabha seats and in Lok Sabha 2019 election DMK+ won 38 seats while BJP along with its alliance partner ADMK won just 1 seat. Therefore, for BJP to increase its presence in southern states it needs to crack the political equation in Tamil Nadu.
Kerala is the most challenging state among all south Indian states for the BJP. In the recently held assembly elections BJP got no seats but got a decent amount of Vote share. The biggest advantage for BJP is the fact that the Congress had lost the election for the second consecutive time breaking a tradition of changing of government in every five years. Many experts believe that loosing Kerala could jeopardize Congress's presence in South as they lost Puducherry also.
For BJP to rise in Kerala it will have to capture the vote banks of Congress along with it have a credible face in the state. Even at the peak of Modi wave, Kerala remained silent for BJP.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections Congress had won 15 seats out of 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala while BJP got no seats.
Andhra Pradesh is another challenging state for BJP ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The ruling party YSRCP is very popular and it popularity has been on rise which was witnessed in recently concluded local body election.
BJP is currently in alliance with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena in state, however, the party hasn’t been successful in making much impact in state.
In 2019 Lok Sabha elections BJP got zero seats out of 25 seats. Even in assembly election there was not much change as YSRCP swept the state by winning 151 seats. BJP would be able to grow in state only by eating up the vote share of TDP.
Karnataka and Puducherry
Karnataka assembly elections are due in 2023 and will decide the fate of the BJP in the state where they have the strongest presence among all the southern states. In 2019 Lok Sabha elections BJP got 17 seats out of 25 Lok Sabha seats with an astounding vote share of 51%.
Winning Puducherry assembly won't make a much impact in winning the southern seats as it has only one Lok Sabha seat which was won by Congress in 2019. Both Karnataka and Puducherry will add to the tally if BJP repeats 2019 like performance in the state.
Telangana is one state which has turned out to be fertile land for BJP. Winning 4 seats in Lok Sabha 2019 and then winning Dubakka by-election and then performing extremely well in GHMC election have motivated the BJP cadres in state. In 2024, ruling TRS under K Chandrasekhar Roa will be under the purview of 10 years of anti-incumbency. Opposition Congress has turned out to be weak after most of its leaders deserted the party. BJP has gradually made its entry in the state and the 17 Lok Sabha seats from state is what BJP will be eyeing in 2024 Lok Sabha election.