According to sources the prime focus of the BJP now is Tamil Nadu and Kerala, whose State Assemblies are due for elections in 2021, which is just a year and a half away.
The BJP juggernaut practically rammed through the three-quarters of the country in the general elections. Only the South proved to be a stumbling block for the saffron party.
The top leadership of the BJP is acutely aware of the situation and is reportedly on a typical strategic operation to breach the Southern citadels.
Though Amit Shah, now that he is also the nation's Home Minister, is unable to focus his energies on party work on a hands-on basis, there is a big think-tank working under his aegis to break the jinx in the South.
According to sources the prime focus now is Tamil Nadu and Kerala, whose State Assemblies are due for elections in 2021, which is just a year and a half away.
The BJP has Karnataka in its bag now. Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have their State elections in 5 years’ time. So, there is still time left for the BJP to make its move there. But it has made a mark in Telangana, and in Andhra Pradesh it hopes to build on the problems in the TDP now and use its disgruntled leaders to its advantage.
Between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the latter is a tougher knot for the BJP to crack. The party is up against a state that is historically against national parties. If it is any solace for the BJP, the thing is the Congress too cannot make any headway in Tamil Nadu.
The BJP has to stick to the alliance path. But with the AIADMK, after the demise of the J Jayalalithaa, on the wane, the BJP has no strong ally to bank on. Vijayakanth’s DMDK, with which it tied up with for the general election, is a politically finished outfit. Its other ally, the PMK, is also largely a lesser force these days.
So, the BJP, till the time it can grow on its own (that looks a long way off now) in the state has to somehow come up with a different game plan. It can hope that parties like Seeman's Naam Tamilar and Kamal Haasan's Makkal Neethi Maiam gain enough traction and eat into the DMK vote bank.
Of course, another plan in the works is to ride piggyback on Rajinikanth, that is, if and when he starts his party. And that is a big if. Also, Rajinikanth the politician is an untested commodity and how much of his fan base will get converted into vote bank is tough to figure out.
Also, the TN BJP has to set its own house in order. The State unit is notorious for factional fights. Now that the State president Tamiisai Soundarrajan has been sent to Telangana as its Governor, the party has to pick a new chief for the state unit.
But that is easier said than done, as there is intense lobbying from various leaders. The party is looking for a non-Brahmin leader who can help it shed its Hindi party image.
In Kerala, the BJP feels it is on the cusp of something momentous. It had actually hoped for at least 2 seats in the general elections. It was mighty disappointed that the Sabarimala issue that it spearhead did not transform into votes (although the party saw an increase of 2% votes by securing 12.9% votes).
It has launched a huge membership drive in the state, and also hopes that the appointment of Arif Mohammad Khan as the state Governor will put the sizable population of minorities at ease.
Another prong in BJP's plan is to woo the Syrian Christians who are not exactly against the Modi government. Their fear is more on the rise of Islamic terrorism all over the world. The BJP is trying to win over the various factions of Kerala Congress. A couple of small units --- Kerala Congress (Thomas) and Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) --- are part of the NDA.
The BJP also hopes to ride on the obvious decline of the Leftist hold in the state.
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Last Updated Sep 11, 2019, 4:32 PM IST