Even as the BJP is preparing for a mega celebration across the country to mark the completion of 8 years of the Narendra Modi government, the party’s ‘Mission Expansion’ is in full swing. After 2014, the BJP has been winning continuously in other states except Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab and the southern states. The BJP’s biggest concern currently remains South India.
Since its formation in 1980, the BJP has been continuously trying to increase its base in South India. Karnataka is the only state in South India where the BJP has managed to form its government besides the Union Territory of Puducherry. But despite all its efforts, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu remain a challenge for the saffron party.
Assembly elections are to be held in the southern states of Karnataka and Telangana in 2023, while in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the elections will be held in 2026. During his party president tenure, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had prepared a special plan regarding the party’s ‘Mission South India’, which the current BJP president JP Nadda is trying to implement. The most important thing is that the party’s top leadership — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, JP Nadda and Amit Shah — have taken the responsibility to lead from the front to make the BJP’s ‘Mission South India’ a success.
After Karnataka, now the BJP top leadership has high hopes from Telangana, so the party is going all out in that state. JP Nadda and Amit Shah are constantly touring the state. The party’s national general secretary BL Santosh is monitoring the efforts to strengthen the party there.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the state on May 26 in a bid to increase the BJP’s base there. Addressing a rally in Hyderabad, Modi accused the state’s TRS government and the Chief Minister of dynastic rule and superstition, saying that where dynastic parties are rooted out, rapid development takes place there.
Describing the dynastic parties as the enemies of democracy, he said that nepotism takes away opportunities from the youth and crushes their dreams because they only fill their own coffers and can never do any good to the state. Referring to the decade-long agitation for the formation of Telangana state, the Prime Minister said that this movement was not for the welfare of one family but for the future of Telangana, for the glory of Telangana. Modi made his intentions clear by visiting Chennai in Tamil Nadu on May 26 itself.
Though the Assembly elections are to be held in Kerala and Tamil Nadu only in 2026, but before that in the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, the party wants to send out a signal to the voters of the rise of the BJP by proving its mettle in these two states. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is a Lok Sabha MP from Wayanad in Kerala, so by increasing the party’s base in Kerala, the BJP wants to surround the Left Front government in the state as well as Rahul Gandhi. Union Minister Smriti Irani, who defeated Rahul Gandhi in the Lok Sabha elections in Amethi, had also recently visited Wayanad.
The five states of South India — Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka — elect 129 MPs to the Lok Sabha. In the Lok Sabha elections of 2024, these five states can play a big role in forming the government, so it has become crucial for the BJP to increase its support base in these states. They are receiving special attention in programmes to strengthen the party and increase the support base in 73,000 weak booths across the country.