After completing the five state elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Opposition prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP is confident about maintaining its stronghold in the Hindi belt, and the Opposition has failed to challenge them effectively. BJP won elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.
The BJP has become a major political force in India. The Party has broadened its reach and currently holds power in 18 states. This is due to its firm leadership, well-organized structure, vast resources, and effective communication. Furthermore, there has been a significant shift to the right in Indian politics. There is a substantial gap between the popularity rating of Narendra Modi and other opposition leaders. The Party’s new slogan is “New Momentum, New Pledge.”
In the past ten years, Modi has effectively promoted the core concept of Hindu nationalism of the BJP. The Party has implemented welfare schemes such as cash transfers, free rations, and affordable gas cylinders to win voters. Another crucial idea, the inauguration of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, is planned for January of next year. Despite facing challenges such as high unemployment, inflation, and price hikes, these schemes remain popular among the masses. However, whether people will give Modi a third term in 2024 is to be seen.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) must adopt new strategies beyond relying solely on Modi’s charisma to win elections in the southern states. They should first address any internal disagreements within the Party.
Secondly, they need to create a new narrative that resonates with voters in the southern states. The current ideologies of Hindutva and Sanatan Dharma are not appealing to the people in these states, who view the BJP as a party that caters to North India.
Unlike other political parties, Dravidian parties have promoted social justice for decades. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin has been talking about the Dravidian administration model. The southern region holds 131 of the 543 Lok Sabha seats. Kerala has many Communist supporters, Tamil Nadu is predominantly atheistic, and the BJP has some base in Karnataka. However, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have regional parties, limiting the BJP’s support in these states.
INDIA is dismayed
The Opposition group INDIA is dismayed with Congress’s poor performance in the recent polls. Rahul Gandhi might have succeeded if the Grand Old Party had won in at least two northern Indian states. Congress must improve its new poll strategy before the next elections.
Opposition parties must unite to prevent the division of non-BJP votes in the next four months to challenge Modi. As a first step, they agreed to field a single candidate in seats where the BJP is the primary contender. The Congress party should focus on winning constituencies with a higher chance of success. It’s essential to prioritize defeating the ruling Party over personal gains and egos.
Congress needs to change
Congress needs to update its leadership and leave behind old practices. Trinamool Congress criticized Congress’s poor performance and said that BJP’s victory resulted from Congress’s failure. Congress lost the elections due to internal conflicts, weak alliances, and a lack of understanding of the current political climate. To improve, Congress must recruit competent individuals for the appropriate roles and motivate its supporters.
Rahul Gandhi led the 4,000-kilometer Bharat Jodo Yatra to revive the Congress Party. This helped the Party win significantly in Gujarat and Telangana. However, the Yatra’s momentum was mainly limited to South India and had no impact in the North.
The Opposition needs more money to compete with the BJP. The saffron Party uses its funds to keep its leader in the public eye and will receive ₹719 crore in 2022-23. Congress Party’s donations have gone down to ₹79 crore from ₹95.4 crore last year. B.J.P. received ₹10,122.03 crores in the previous five years compared to Congress’ ₹1,547.43 crores. Corporate contributions to Congress have decreased while the BJPs have increased.
According to recent reports, the Congress is considering crowdfunding to finance its election campaigns due to lack of funds. It needs vast funds to match with the BJP’s war chest.
In the last 20 years, the expenditure on Lok Sabha elections has increased six times, from Rs 9,000 to BJP’s Rs 55,000 crore. A third of the expenses are allocated for campaign and publicity. In contrast, the second largest expense is direct payment to voters. Also, political parties now resort to bribing the voters with cash and kind.
BJP needs focus on South
Simply put, BJP needs to develop a winning strategy for the South, while Congress should focus on the North. As for regional parties, their priority should be to keep their loyal voter base. Moreover, merely offering freebies is not always enough to win voters. It is essential to do more to earn their trust and support.
India’s democratic journey is a significant achievement with hardly any precedent. The democracy has survived despite its faults, and the power has been transferred 17 times. Ultimately, it is the billion voters who will decide the future.