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No north-south divide, the only threat to BJP in 2024 is...

Dec 08, 2023 06:58 PM IST

BJP's return in 2024 is not as simple as the political observers have been predicting.

The Bharatiya Janata Party scored a landslide victory in three Hindi heartland states -- Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The party performed better than expected just months before the 2024 general elections, prompting poll pundits to declare a favourable wind for the BJP. However, this is not the time to be complacent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Minister Amit Shah, Pralhad Joshi, BJP National President JP Nadda and Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal. (Narendra Modi-X)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Union Minister Amit Shah, Pralhad Joshi, BJP National President JP Nadda and Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal. (Narendra Modi-X)

Is BJP victory in 2024 a foregone conclusion?

BJP's return in 2024 is not as simple as the political observers have been predicting. The biggest threat the BJP faces is not the opposition, but the threat of complacency within the party. The mood within the party has been uplifted with the victories in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh with huge margins. The public mood is such that they are looking towards a prime minister who is the tallest and the senior most leader in the democratic world. He is also a leader who has global reach, global audience and has painted a vision for the country to become a developed country by 2047.

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So if you look at the elections, there is a chemistry of a leader and the arithmetic of numbers. The chemistry works in the BJP's favour; the arithmetic has to be worked out, because each and every seat has to be fought for with total intensity, with the right kinds of candidates.

The fact is that the chemistry is in the BJP's favour. The arithmetic has to be worked out. But the biggest thing is, the BJP must not get complacent.

What are the BJP's prospects?

You are looking at increased numbers in Uttar Pradesh. You are looking at increased numbers in Maharashtra. You are also looking at increased numbers in West Bengal. The way things are going, you are looking at good numbers in Bihar too. It can max out in UP and retain its seat in Karnataka. In national elections, people vote for the charisma of the prime minister, not on local issues. In this case, BJP scores a whole lot of points.

Is there any complacency?

There is no evidence of complacency. Let me take you to 2003. In that year, the NDA had won all the three states. The party got in such an upbeat mood that it decided to call early elections. The mood was that the BJP was coming back to power, but ultimately the party lost by a margin of 8-9 seats.

What about Congress?

The leadership of the Congress has to have a vision that it can sell to the masses. Where do they want to take the country to? The vision cannot be having a caste-based consensus. It cannot be minority appeasement. It cannot be to split the Hindu votes. The public is looking at the country to grow and be on the global high table. That is right now the aspirant India. I don't see the Congress in a position to really challenge the BJP.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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