Monday, May 26, 2008

BJP in Karnataka

For the first time in the history of Independent India, BJP is about to take power in a Southern State. It was always understood by all and sundry that BJP could never come to power in the South. Even BJP leaders of the South got themselves convinced over a period of time that they would never come to power on their own. In the past, BJP has dabbled with all kinds of alliances to make a footprint in the South – but was unsuccessful. It was given that BJP cannot win a majority in the South.

The myth is exploded now

In the recent elections held in Karnataka, BJP has won the majority and is about to form the government – completely on their own without any alliance. This is a historic event and would completely change the way BJP has looked at the South, the way political equations were formed at Center, and the way South has looked at BJP and other Hindu political outfits.

It has many implications.

BJP at Center

The BJP headquarters should celebrate this as a grand victory. Getting its footprint into South is one of BJP’s biggest achievements. It gives them a legitimacy that it suffered for a very long time. It was always regarded as unrepresentative of a great section of India – the South. Though it was targeting Hindu majority as its vote base, it had never received the mandate of the people in the South. That is all changed now.

BJP can once again anticipate coming to power at Center in the next elections. Not only that, they can now be aggressive on their Hindutva agenda- because it is clear that they don’t need to succumb to their allies in their NDA. They can be less dependent on their partners – unlike in the past during Vajpayee Government.

Congress at Center

Sonia Gandhi could not work any magic in Karnataka. Rahul Gandhi could not work magic either. Even in those places where they canvassed, Congress lost. All those ‘secular’ parties who saw the South to be impenetrable by BJP will now abandon their complacency.

Congress already lost few states in the recent past to BJP in the North. Now, they lost to BJP even in the South. Congress Party’s chances of winning at the Center in the next elections are becoming slim.

This also means much more idolization of Sonia Gandhi and her family. The more the Congress loses the more the loyalty towards the family increases – that’s how sycophancy works – because all the other independent minded leaders would then be reduced to a naught.


With the recent unfolding in the political scene in the country, Congress cannot hope to win in Andhra Pradesh. There is a great deal of negative sentiment against Congress party in Telangana because of the betrayal of Telangana cause. In the last elections, Congress formed an alliance with TRS promising people of Telangana their statehood if they come to power. And they came to power and formed the government in the state under Rajashekar Reddy, a strong opponent to creation of Telangana. Sonia Gandhi and her party went against their promise to create a new state upsetting people of Telangana. Unless Sonia grants statehood this time, Congress has no chances of winning in Telangana.

Meanwhile, in the Rest of Andhra Pradesh, there is a new threat. Chiranjeevi, the famous actor, is forming a new party and many existing political parties already know that he is going to make a big impact. Congress, unless it joins hands with Chiranjeevi, which seems to be quite a remote possibility, cannot win in Rest of Andhra.

Sonia Gandhi has to reevaluate her strategy vis-à-vis Andhra Pradesh. There is a good chance that Congress will announce creation of Telangana in a bid to win at least this region. And if so, that decision will come at a time close to the election to reap the maximum benefit out of that announcement.

Pan India Hindutva ideology

BJP and its Hindutva ideology is getting legitimacy in almost all regions of India, including the South. BJP and other Hindutva outfits can pat themselves on the back for creating the necessary atmosphere, and for benefiting from some of the recent events in the state and outside, in transforming themselves into a well-accepted political party in the South. Aiding them were other factors, such as extreme incompetence and petty politics of JDS and Congress in Karnataka, recent terrorist attacks in the state and outside, and the desperate need for development-focus.

In the recent past, Karnataka has seen a spurt in growth of regional chauvinism; and the fervor it has vitiated in the state is something which any fascist, nationalistic or communalistic party can ride on. There is a growing antipathy and animosity towards non-Kannadigas. Riots took place in different parts of Karnataka in which Hindus and Muslims were at loggerheads. This atmosphere is conducive for party like BJP to make its mark.

The prevailing mood has allowed these people of South to accept BJP as a legitimate party. The mood of Kannadigas is to have a change from the both JDS and Congress, and to have an increased sense of security of their regional and communal interests, which a party like BJP can easily promise to promote. Though Hindutva ideology is not really the critical factor for Kannadigas to vote BJP into power, that’s how BJP would like to position it in the Center – an approval of its Pan India Hindutva ideology.


  1. One of the worst things that could happen to the country is BJP gaining acceptance throughout the country and its lunatic fringe elements like the RSS becoming mainstream. People like Rahul Gandhi will never be able to salvage the Congress lacking both the political acumen and the charisma to be a national leader. The BJP once in power, will conduct political "experiments" like Godhra given the right atmosphere to check if the people are polarised enough to completely abandon their mental faculties and kill each other in the name of religion.

  2. Great I am celebrating with chamgane. Cheers to BJP

  3. The BJP is actually slightly short of majority isn't it? (110 seats for BJP while majority requires 113?)
    Anyways I do not think that is going to be any problem for any party to BUY 3 more MLAs.

    I am also quite worried about the fact that BJP is spreading its wings everywhere in the country, (I am not a fan of Congress either.)

  4. Jai_ChoorakkotMay 27, 2008 11:30 AM


    I think the other factors listed by you at the end of the post

    "... such as extreme incompetence and petty politics of JDS and Congress in Karnataka, recent terrorist attacks in the state and outside, and the desperate need for development-focus ..."

    were actually the major ones, especially the well-deserved negative vote against JD-S which benefited the BJP.

    I dont think the BJP is well-positioned to exploit a language divide (the JD-S, pretty much a regional party is better equipped to try that).

    Luckily so far, there havent been any major communal flare-ups either:

    Idgah maidan was lonng ago, looks settled with Muslim leaders proudly hoisting the tri-color there.

    BabaBudanagiri is something they may try to jack up, but I think it doesnt carry enough weight.

    I am hoping they will be forced to concentrate on actual governance due to the lack of strong "BJP" issues here. In short, the lack of an ambience conducive to Hindutva lab results in +ve feedback loop and further reduces their effort to try and create one.

    Also, the BJP dont have a very decisive mandate, 3 short of majority and I think the margins in some areas were pretty slim. I hope the JD-S will get relegated to irrelevance soon. That will help the congress vote.


  5. hmm...good observation....but some say the reasons yeddyurappa[hope the speeling is right!] won are..
    1)his lingayat caste!
    2)bjps decision to announce the candidates list 2weeks prior to other paries which gave them an upper hand in the campaign
    3)SYMPATHY factor!!!!!!

  6. The question is if this 110+5 combination will last for 5 years. Anyway, the BJP should see this as a golden opportunity. If they use their time to do some good work for the state, then they might be rewarded with a second term.

  7. what do you think of the idea that because of the growth of terrorism etc (terrorist outfits are recruiting radicalists) in the south, the southerners voted for BJP because they feel more secure in the hands of a more "hindu" leaning political party.

  8. The young people have a positive attitude on BJP. It would be tough for a party to play only on the hindutva card in the South. BJP is seen as a party which could bring growth faster than any other party. Hope they live up to it.

    Destination Infinity.

  9. The reason for the BJP's success has to do with nothing other than their Indian base. Everything from the BJP comes from India, the money, people, and developments. Congress is now failing because it is controlled from abroad, the developments are for abroad( the trip to Israel while children are still starving in Andhra). Just my observation about congress: I noticed congress politicians are more selfish than other politicians in India, except for marxists.

  10. BJP manifesto: no tax on income up to Rs.300,000 per year--
    New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will exempt all armed forces and paramilitary personnel from income tax if voted to power, the party said while releasing its manifesto Friday for the Lok Sabha elections. In another populist promise, it said it would exempt individuals with an income of up to Rs.300,000 per year from income tax.

    The party said it would enact a ’strong law’ like POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) to counter terrorism and also strengthen coastal security,
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