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Will the Lotus bloom down south? Here is what the BJP has in mind

By Vicky Nanjappa
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    New Delhi, Aug 27: The southern states account for 130 Lok Sabha seats and in the run up to the 2019 general polls, the BJP is leaving nothing to chance. With states up north likely to throw up a mixed verdict, winning big in south would be crucial for the BJP in case it has to return to power in 2019.

    Will the Lotus bloom down south? Here is what the BJP has in mind

    Of all the states down south, the BJP is very optimistic about Karnataka, where it had emerged as the single largest party in the recently concluded assembly elections. This leaves the BJP to strategise in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala.

    In Tamil Nadu, the BJP would look for an alliance, while in Karnataka, it would fight the battle by itself. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, the party would look to ally with smaller parties. The TDP, which was part of the NDA until recently had broken away and it appears certain that the Chandrababu Naidu led party would go with the Congress.

    Also Read | In BJP's southern push, where does Tamil Nadu stand: Will DMK remain a neutral force in 2019

    A BJP leader tells OneIndia that there would be no truck with the YSR Congress ahead of the polls. However, we are confident that the YSRCP would better its tally in Andhra Pradesh this year. If the YSRCP remains neutral, then the BJP could seek its support in case the numbers are short, the source also informed.

    The Telangana strategy of the BJP looks more or less clear. The federal front proposed by K Chandrashekar Rao has not taken off. Off late, KCR and his party the TRS have been cozying up to the BJP. This was evident when the TRS walked out during the no-confidence vote and also backed the BJP in the election to the post of deputy chairman, Rajya Sabha.

    In Telangana, the BJP is likely to fight the battle alone and there is a chance of a post poll tie up with the TRS, if the need be. The Telangana strategy would be applied in Odisha as well, where the BJD had recently backed the BJP in the Rajya Sabha and also staged a walk out during the no confidence vote.

    In Tamil Nadu, the plan would be an interesting one. Both the BJP and DMK have of late shared good vibes. There appears to be a clear change in posturing by both the DMK and BJP. Stalin had refused to invite the BJP for a programme held to commemorate Karunanidhi's 60 years in politics. When asked, why the BJP was not invited, Stalin had said that the party does not believe in Dravidian parties. However six months later, there is a change in thinking, with the DMK inviting the BJP for the August 30 meet. In 2014, the BJP had won just one of the 39 seats in Tamil Nadu.

    Also Read | Mood of the Nation: BJP may fall short of 27 seats to reach magic number

    While the party has a strategy in place for all these states, the battle in Kerala would be a hard fought one. The party has increased its vote share considerably, but in terms of victory, there has not been much to talk about. The BJP is likely to fight the battle by itself in Kerala and look to better its performance.

    Winning south is crucial for the BJP. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala - and the Union Territory of Puducherry together elect 130 MPs to Lok Sabha.

    Although the BJP put up an impressive overall performance in 2014, in the above mentioned states, the party was able to win just 20 seats, a majority of which came from Karnataka.

    The BJP is banking on the weakening of the Congress to better its southern performance.

    The BJP feels that the weakening of the Congress would not just worsen its performance, but also it would find it hard to stitch up alliances. This would work in the favour of the BJP, sources also say.

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