Lok Sabha 2024 : From Karnataka to Rest of The South India
Lok Sabha 2024 : On my way back to home my auto passed by an Appaji Canteen. The canteen launched by JD(s) to counter Indira Canteen launched by the Congress Govt in 2017. Seeing it, the auto driver immediately laughed at it and said, “This time people did not vote as Gowdas, Lingayats, Brahmins, etc. This time we all voted as Hindus for Modi.”
The level of political awareness which auto drivers, cab drivers, boatmen, etc have, even political analysts will not have. They are both the best predictors as well as analysts according to me.
How BJP performed in Karnataka?
BJP in Karnataka got almost 52% vote share. It is the highest ever vote share obtained by any party in any Assembly/Lok Sabha Election held in Karnataka till date. BJP’s Karnataka vote share even surpasses Congress’s peak during Rajiv Gandhi. However, it got 3 seats less than Congress in its peak.
Except for Muslims, Christians, Kurubas, a small section of Dalits rest of the communities overwhelmingly voted for BJP. The consolidation was such that leaders like
- Deve Gowda, tallest leader of Vokkaliga Community
- Mallikarjun Kharge, tallest leader of Dalit Community
- Veerappa Moily, a tall leader OBC leader
- KH Muniyappa, a tall Dalit leader
All lost Badly!
How Polarisation Helped BJP?
The fact that one cannot ignore is that barring Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, there was subtle polarisation. Even in Telangana, there was an effect of polarisation on voters. Thereby, it helped BJP make its mark in the state.
The Kannada Channels extensively covered the elections. They even covered UP!
One thing was clear. Not even a Single Muslim interviewed said he/she would vote for BJP!
The 20% or so Muslim vote share which BJP has managed may have been mostly from some liberal Muslim Women who want Triple Talaq to go.
My friend who works in an IT company in Bengaluru lamented that despite Modi Govt doing so much for the country, his Muslim/Christian friends from Andhra, Kerala and TN used to openly say that they would vote for anybody except BJP. It seems many of his Hindu friends seeing this attitude decided to vote for BJP!
When there was/is so much clear polarization of minorities against BJP, it is natural to expect counter polarization of the Hindu majority towards BJP.
Factors Beyond Polarization
It is not right to say that communal polarization alone was the reason. It was just one of the reasons. There was clearly an anti-Congress-JDS sentiment especially in North Karnataka and Coastal Karnataka due to not only comments by JDS leaders but also clear neglect towards these regions. Coupled with heavy in-fighting within the alliance, the BJP swept even the Old Mysuru region where it was traditionally weak.
Why BJP failed in Kerala, AP and Tamil Nadu?
In the states of Kerala, TN and Andhra, the Hindu voter consolidation did not work in favour of BJP. However, here minority votes too cant be taken for granted. The Churches in Kerala, Andhra and TN hold enormous political power. They hold sway over their respective members. Second, the same thing is about Muslims as well. While the official minority is the majority in Kerala, however in TN, they are concerned enough in pockets to matter a lot politically.
In Kerala, despite BJP improving its vote share due to Sabarimala, the main beneficiary was the Congress. Maybe the Hindus of Kerala thought that for the time being, teaching Left Front a lesson is a more important thing than voting against minority appeasing parties. Also, Congress too was with the Ayappa devotees. So no strong reason to oppose Congress other than minority appeasement (which is also becoming a concern for a good section of Hindus in Kerala). So together with minority votes, Congress performed it’s best in Kerala while the rest of the nation rejected it.
Coming to TN, here not only there was a consolidated minority which helped the UPA in many segments like Kanyakumari but also heavy anti-incumbency against AIADMK. Absence of Jayalalitha along with split in AIADMK severely dampened the AIADMK’s prospects. TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK though did not win any seats, it clearly played a spoilsport for AIADMK. Thereby, a good section of Thevars (core vote bank of AIADMK) voted for AMMK.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
In Andhra Pradesh there was a huge anti-incumbency against TDP. The 10% unofficial Christian Dalits, residual Hindu Dalits and tribals along with Reddys (both Hindu and Christian), OBCs and minuscule Brahmins helped YSRCP to come to power.
Telangana was surprise for eveyone. Even it was surprise for BJP supporters as well. There was visible anger in certain segments against KCR for making alleged anti-Hindu remarks. However, none expected that party which swept assembly election a few months ago would lose couple of seats in the state. BJP winning four Lok Sabha seats in the state was an indication of possible rise of BJP in Telangana. To be noted the daughter of CM K Chandrashekar Rao, K Kavita also lost the Lok Sabha election in the state.
In 2019 Lok Sabha, BJP which was known to be party of north breached the boundaries where it was completely welcome. The east which however, remained silent for BJP in 2014, overwhelmingly contributed towards BJP’s 303 Lok Sabha majority. However, south India yet again remained unconquered. Nevertheless, BJP have already created their road-map to conquer the last frontier- South India in Lok Sabha 2024. Nevertheless, if BJP is able to mark its presence in this unconquered frontier, in Lok Sabha 2024 , BJP along with its allies may head towards winning 400 Lok Sabha seats.
Author: Skanda Venugopal