The BJP is looking confident for the Lok Sabha elections after the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya. The party is trying to win as many seats as possible in the Hindi-speaking regions. It is also not hesitating to woo the allies of the Congress. We have seen the examples of Maharashtra and Bihar, where the BJP has formed governments with the help of former Congress allies. There are also rumours of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, which is part of the Akhilesh-Rahul team in UP, joining hands with the BJP. However, this trend is not limited to the North only.
Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is travelling to Delhi on Wednesday and is likely to meet Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda, sources said. Meanwhile, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has also left for Delhi. He is coming by a chartered plane from Patna airport. This is his first Delhi visit after returning to the NDA. He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. During this visit, the seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections may be discussed.
BJP’s ‘Mission South’
The BJP is also working hard to increase its vote base in the southern states, albeit at a slow pace. Just before the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, PM Narendra Modi had visited the temples in Kerala. He had addressed the BJP workers in Kochi. He had praised the BJP workers for keeping the BJP flag flying in Kerala despite the adverse circumstances. He had bowed his head before them.
Now, a big political event is going to take place in Kerala on February 13. The Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) party will merge with the BJP in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah. The party’s chief PC George said that on the same day, 112 members of the party’s state committee will be given the membership of the BJP. This event will take place in the capital Thiruvananthapuram. Shah is going to visit there next week.
The BJP is focusing on 84 out of 131 seats in South India. The tours of PM Modi and Shah are an indication of this. The BJP’s position is good in Telangana and Karnataka, where it will try to win more than 35 seats. Some experts also say that the BJP is not looking at the Lok Sabha elections but the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. As far as Kerala is concerned, the BJP is expected to get 4-5 seats this time. Last time, the party was second on two seats.
The fact is, the saffron party has a charismatic face in the form of PM Narendra Modi. The crowd that gathers in the rallies in North India translates into votes, but not in South India. The BJP is moving ahead in the direction of forming alliances with the regional parties of the South. Something similar has been seen in North India as well to achieve the political equations. Repeating this experiment, the BJP may get some new allies in the South.
Chandrababu Naidu’s Delhi Visit
Naidu, who was once a key ally of the BJP, had parted ways with the NDA in 2018 over the issue of special status for Andhra Pradesh. He had joined hands with the Congress and other opposition parties to form a grand alliance against the BJP. However, his party, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), suffered a humiliating defeat in the 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha elections, losing power to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) led by Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Since then, Naidu has been facing a series of challenges, both political and legal. His party has been accused of corruption and mismanagement by the YSRCP government, which has also launched investigations against several TDP leaders. Naidu himself is facing a CBI probe in a disproportionate assets case. His party has also witnessed defections and desertions, as many of his former loyalists have switched sides to the ruling party.
In this scenario, Naidu is looking for a political revival and a possible reconciliation with the BJP. He may seek the BJP’s support to counter the YSRCP’s onslaught and to protect his party’s interests. He may also offer to support the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in exchange for some concessions from the Centre. There is a strong possibility of him joining the NDA again, if the BJP agrees to his terms and conditions.
Former AIADMK leaders join the BJP in the presence of Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai, in Delhi.