Even as Modi-led BJP has won one of the largest mandates ever anywhere in the world, a section of the press and patently sceptic BJP baiters have continued to peddle the narrative that the ruling party has no base in South India. There were many media narratives presented on these lines.
By questioning BJP’s southern electoral credentials, they are not only putting an unfair question mark on their own Prime Minister and his widely-acclaimed inspirational victory, they are also betraying their own ignorance on how things have changed on the ground for the ruling party in South.
For instance, in the run up to the Karnataka Assembly poll in 2018, Siddaramaiah of the Congress had termed the BJP leaders such as Narendra Modi and Yogi Adityanath as outsiders. Lok Sabha results in Karnataka clearly show that the people are not ready to buy this false dichotomy between north and south.
BJP Still the Single Largest National Force
If number of seats is a measure of electoral success, when it comes to BJP’s tally of 29 won in these polls, Congress is still behind at 27 for the five states of Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. In Karnataka, the state which sends the largest number of seats to the Parliament, BJP is the preeminent party with a staggering 25 as against Congress’s paltry one. Then in Telangana, the state which sends as many as 17 MPs to the Lok Sabha, BJP is again ahead of Congress’s 3 seats with 4 seats.
Hope for a Future Prospect
Then if vote share is a criterion, BJP again not only appears ahead of Congress, the other principal national party, but even seemed to have improved from 2014 figures. To illustrate, the ruling party’s vote percentage in Karnataka has surged to 51.4% in 2019 from 43.4% during 2014 polls. In contrast, Congress’s vote share has declined to 31.9% from 37.2 percent. Then in a state such as Kerala where Congress has a longstanding presence, the vote share of BJP has surged impressively at 13 percent in 2019 from 10.5% in 2014.
So, as illustrated above, no matter what, BJP is still the single largest national party South of the Vindhyas. For the naysayers, if BJP can make a considerable dent in North East and West Bengal, the same may well be replicated in South India.