National security pitch, last minute allies: Has the BJP got its math right
New Delhi, Mar 11: After riding on the popularity of Narendra Modi in 2014, the BJP ended up with 282 out of the 543 seats in 2014. The challenge ahead this year is immense and the BJP at the moment looks like a more confident unit than it did two months back.
On Friday, the BJP held its Parliamentary board meeting, in which a variety of issues were discussed. The party is said to have done away with its 75 age rule. This decision, sources say was taken only to ensure the winnability factor.
During the meeting, several leaders said that their chances of winning had increased after national security became a poll issue. This confidence was exhibited by particularly those MPs from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The same leaders did not feel confident in the aftermath of the defeats in the assembly elections in MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
While there were doubts if the BJP could retain as many seats in the Hindi heartland as it did in 2014, it moved its focus to South India to better its tally. The alliance with the AIADMK is being seen a major positive for the party. The BJP has also forged alliances with the PMK and DMDK. This would help the AIADMK and BJP put up a better showing in northern Tamil Nadu and in districts of Salem, Tirpur and Thiruvallur.
Further it also managed to cobble up the alliance with its ever bickering ally, the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. An alliance was also formed with the All Jharkhand Students Union in Jharkhand.
The BJP would however have an uphill task in the north eastern states. The party had made huge gains in this region, but finds itself on the back foot owing to the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Due to this allies such as the AGP in Assam and UDP in Meghalaya pulled out as a result of which the BJP would find the going hard.
In Karnataka, where the BJP has its best chance down south, it is up against the JD(S) and Congress. The combine has performed well in all the local polls and this time around threatens to pose a formidable challenge to the BJP.
In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the party does not have any formal alliance. However the poll prospects for YSR Congress in AP and TRS in Telangana remain very bright. The BJP is hoping that these parties would remain friendly towards it.
Uttar Pradesh is a big challenge for the BJP. It is up against a strong coalition of the SP and BSP. The party hopes that its national security pitch would help overcome the caste equations that the SP and BSP would tap into.
In Bihar, the BJP is an alliance with the JD(S) and LJP. While it was hoping to make inroads in West Bengal, the challenge in this state for the BJP remains huge.