Absence of Religious Polarisation In South Could Spoil BJP’s Poll Arithmetic

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The five southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala together sends 129 seats to the Lok Sabha. And for the ruling BJP getting even 20 of those seats is becoming an ambitious task.

In its editorial, Hindustan Times has said the worrying factor for BJP is that despite making some inroads in the eastern states, it has had very little success in the southern states. It said that the absence of strong leadership, continued perception that BJP is a north-based party, weak organisation and absence of strong religious polarisation on a Hindu-Muslim axis is hampering its growth strategy in these crucial states.

The southern states are important for BJP to offset its losses in the northern, central and western states. But the challenges are how to win over the voters. The editorial referred to Andhra Pradesh in particular where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state’s Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu (his party left NDA last year) have taken the attack against each other at the personal level.

BJP has realised that it can do little in the state on its own and would rather have Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress win the elections. It could eventually turn out to be a potential post-poll ally.

Hence Naidu’s all out offensive against the BJP and BJP’s larger southern offensive, and its aggression in Andhra Pradesh in particular, can be understood as a part of this political matrix, the paper said.