BJP should not underestimate any opponent in 2024

It’s a bunch of regional leaders. Some of them are not even that. They are sub-regional leaders at best and some of them became a spent force a long time ago. Some of them are not leaders at all, like Javed Akhtar and bring with them only 5-6 votes, likely those of their family and close friends. It is difficult not to mock. And when you see Yashwant Sinha at the head of them, it is almost an invitation to do so.

But for reasons of safety, it is best for the BJP to take every potential threat for 2024 seriously.

Of late, the BJP has developed a distressing habit of elections slipping out of their grasp. I am not actually talking about Bengal. The TMC won the state by a landslide. I am talking about Maharashtra or Jharkhand. And in 2018, it was Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Just a handful of votes here and there, such as keeping AJSU as an ally in Jharkhand, would have won them the election. I have written about this phenomenon before, of the BJP losing the art of “winning small.”

This is one sign of inflated ego. With Modi winning landslide majorities, the BJP and its supporters have become used to thinking in terms of big victories. In 2019, I think the BJP won over 50% of the vote in over half of India’s states. Yes, that is huge. But that cannot happen every time. Either you are in power or you are not. Ultimately, it does not make that much of a difference if you are in power with 3/4 majority or you have just 1 seat above the majority mark. Look at the Congress enjoying power in Maharashtra, acting like there was a Sonia Gandhi wave there. The people may have voted them down to the 4th position. But as much as it may bother the BJP to admit, they are powerless and miserable in Maharashtra with 100+ MLAs. Yes, the BJP is the only party since 1991 to win 100+ seats in Maharashtra, but who cares? See who is chilling out in Mantralaya…

There is still a lot of time to go before 2024, obviously. The BJP lost a lot of political capital in April-May during the second wave of Covid. But as I had guessed, they can gain a lot of it back from rapid vaccinations, which is happening now. I wrote yesterday about how BJP had the most perfect day in a long time. After being dumbfounded by the magnitude of the vaccinations on June 21, Congress made a wrong move getting its surrogates to chip away with relentless negativity. How could they not realize that 75 lakh vaccinations a day will become common by next month? And soon enough, it will be 1 crore plus each day.

Today they are trying to “debunk” 86 lakh vaccinations on one day. Saying look it went down to 50 lakh the next day. Two weeks later, they will “debunk” 1 crore vaccinations on one day, saying it went down to 75 lakh the next day. This is a losing battle. The only thing they can do is make themselves look more and more ridiculous.

But after experiences in Rajasthan, Maharashtra and so many states, the BJP should not take anyone lightly. Yes, I am at a loss to imagine who would vote for a coalition government of Sharad Pawar, Yashwant Sinha and Javed Akhtar. But what do I know? If the political developments since 2018 have proved anything, it is that you can’t take anything or anybody for granted.

Instead of mocking the so called “Rashtra Manch” the BJP needs to take them on aggressively. They need to make people wonder if they really want a government of Sharad Pawar, Yashwant Sinha and Javed Akhtar. Let Mamata Banerjee be the Prime Ministerial candidate. In fact, Didi’s ambitions can give wings to BJP in Bengal. If Mamata Banerjee goes out on a limb chasing her PM dreams for the next three years, she will have to leave day to day command of Bengal in the hands of the nephew. That’s when the mistakes are going to come.

16 thoughts on “BJP should not underestimate any opponent in 2024

  1. BJP needs to realize that all the low hanging fruits like Haryana has been plucked by them. Now their aggressive expansion push is coming up against regional stalwarts like Mamata ( we may mock her but she is now guaranteed to rule one of the politically important state for 1.5 decades.). Now is the time to consolidate and bide for your time.
    Rather than expansion of BJP, Modi and Shah to look to expand NDA by including friendlier politicians like Navin Patnaik, Jagan and dare I say Shiv Sena.
    Including any two of them in NDA before 2024 will break opposition morale completely.

    Looking at the state of regional BJP leaders who just want to enjoy power in name of Modi, further expansion looks to be much more difficult. BJP might have unearthed a gem in Suvendu and it should allow BJP to hold fort in Bengal till 2024. But expanding NDA should be a priority.

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  2. The opposition is playing a long-term strategy.If nothing is done, demographic change will make the whole of India look like West Bengal.The opposition can then win on the “Muslim veto” on an anti-Hindu plank.Muslims voting tactically will ensure that their government will come to power, such as would have happened much earlier without Partition.It is necessary to bear this in mind while making long-term futuristic forecasts.That is why Rahul has the chance of becoming PM even when he reaches 80.He has an endless number of chances for the top post unlike students who are given a maximum of two or three attempts to clear a critical examination.

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  3. When people elected BJP government with a bigger majority they have a right to expect that the Hindutva plank on which BJP fought elections (it does not matter if the BJP leadership pretends that the it won on an Sabka Vada Pav plank). They started very well with Amit Shah in right earnest attending to the long pending items like CAA, J&K etc. Then slowly but surely he was pushed to the sidelines for whatever reasons and not allowed to function in the usual way he does, direct and efficient . Then came the total inaction on many issues that is inexcusable at many levels, Fake farmers blockade of roads, Republic day incidents, inaction in WB, etc. Slowly but surely, BJP supporters started to feel being let down by the BJP. This let down feeling is what is the difference between BJP winning comfortably or losing narrowly.

    If they (BJP) losing elections narrowly they should know that they have disappointed their supporters. MH was lost because of Dave Fernandes super sickular performance. BJP ministers at the central level show support and respond to the tweets of people who have spewed venom on them but have no words of sympathy to offer or fail to even acknowledge supporters’ pain and sufferings. BJP feels that their supporters have to vote them because of TINA factor. What if the supporter sits at home and does not feel motivated enough to go and vote for BJP? That is when narrow losses occur. There is still time to wake up and make course correction and not insist on the failing agenda of sabka vishwas fixation. But is the BJP leadership prepared to carry out course correction from the path of downfall they seem bent on following. The signs are not that encouraging at least for now.

    Supporters don’t feel motivated to go out and vote if they see a wish-washy approach is being adopted for their core concerns. Just like BJP leadership’s core concern is to win elections, their supporters’ also have a core concern that the party they support will address their core concerns. Otherwise, the supporters will see through the sabka charade and say Vote Hamari Chahiye Aur Per Tum Vishwas Jeetna Hai Kisi Aur Ka? If you want to win the Vishwas of others then you should win your seats based on their votes and don’t expect your core supporters to watch you sacrifice their interests just so that you can come across as the second mahatma. We have suffered enough for the follies of one mahatma and we don’t need another mahatma to repeat the process all over again. This gandhigiri will be the cause of the downfall of the BJP if not checked in time.

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    1. How very true ! Every word echoes the deep inside thoughts of all core BJP supporters ! Wish some one could read out some of the thoughts expressed in this forum to Modi himself ! There’s no point in being impeccably honest and working 18 hours a day – if you still disappoint your real supporters, go out of your way to delight your haters & nurture a brigade of incompetent ministers like Javadekar, Pokhriyal, Prasad etc. 😏

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  4. I’ve said this before and I will repeat my observation here.

    The BJP has two ways by which it could consolidate – and improve upon – its electoral base. First, go vertical: ie, dig deep to maintain or improve vote share of Hindus and maintain seat strength. Second, go horizontal: ie, by creating new Hindu parties, in partnership with the RSS, to increase seat strength.

    The first point is commonsense but requires that the Hindu concentration become more explicit and all-embracing within the Hindu community. The second point seeks to address the issue of “winning small” where the BJP in recent years has become the majority by seats but is thwarted by an anti-BJP alliance ranged against it who pull the rug from under the party. In other words, how does one get significant share of Hindu votes that have gone to the alliance parties? There must be some reason the BJP was not able to get them to their side.

    Additional Hindu parties should be created for two reasons – First, to mop up as many Hindu votes as possible under other guises. Second, to quickly – and unambiguously – help cobble a BJP alliance post-elections that could give an electoral victory despite any anti-BJP alliance. You could say this would be the riposte to the gaggle of opposition parties (the “gathbandhan” logic) that the Congress manages to put together.

    The BJP should not view these “baby BJP” parties as a threat. In fact, it should help with organizational, seat-sharing, expense-sharing, and cross-loaning leadership support. Every state having 2 or 3 such baby BJPs could turn in cumulatively an extra 15 to 25 seats that would be critical and unbeatable. But it requires detailed planning, taking the RSS (and other similar organizations) on board and who are unquestionable as to their philosophy, motivations, and drive. All of them should be able to share in lower-level ministerial berths in the state or federal government.

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    1. Good idea but the BJP and RSS do not want to share the Hindutva space to other parties so that they remain the default choice. If such a choice has to emerge, it has to be in face of opposition of BJP and RSS in addition to the hurdles put up by the usual sickular parties. That means concentrating on core issues of supporters is more important for BJP’s future than becoming another Congress and losing relevance and direction to its core supporters. Otherwise they will find themselves consistently short of the target. Now that the BJP is in power it cannot complain like when it was in opposition and show themselves to be weak and gain sympathy. Such tactics won’t work. You have a mandate with full majority then act like one.

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  5. BJP should win 2024 comfortably, especially if Ram Mandir gets built 4-5 months before the elections. Opposition will try to slow or stall this.

    BJP is winning votes not because it is very good but because the opposition is very bad. Most of opposition politicians are tyrant or dynast or both – nightmarish combinations.

    BJP has to improve a lot on the communications front. Modi/Shah have not even spoken on Bengal. Top leaders cannot be quiet on important topics. It gives the impression that they dont care.

    BJP/RSS should put their annoying and irritating social reformer experiments of tinkering with Hindu festivals etc on the backburner. After Covid, people are going to be stressed and less tolerant of social reformer nonsense. BJP should just focus on the economy/jobs/infrastructure and stop its Hindu social reform agenda.

    In 2024, there will be a generation of first time voters who are young and ambitious – and these are the types who will vote for BJP. The old staid Chamcha generation will be on its last legs. The demography is in favour of BJP.

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    1. KannanJi, it is true that the completion of RJB temple will give a boost to the BJP in terms of votes. But the question is would that boost be sufficient to offset the likely alienation of core voters is a question that should be carefully assessed by BJP leadership. No political party in the democratic world that has been in power for a long time without core supporters interests being looked after when in power. After all, when all is said and done the swing voters and bandwagoners will be the first to desert the party when not in power. Its only the core supporters who can ensure continuance of power base. When in power BJP can attract all kinds of people but remember they are bandwagoners who are there to have a good time when the going is good.

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      1. The problem is that the alternatives are very bad and dangerous, especially at the centre. If someone like RaGa gets power, he will wreck the country in five years and take it decades back.

        This is the TINA argument and I think the rational voter will still prefer BJP for this reason. Rest of politicians in India are “Jungle Raj” dynast politicians who cannot be given a single chance. As the saying goes – In the country of blind people, the one eyed man is the king. India just cannot experiment with the bad alternatives available at this point.

        But I agree that BJP needs to show far more competency at many levels, especially with respect to Hindutva. They are getting by because the Hindu voter doesnt have alternatives. But BJP would be foolish to rely on the TINA factor only. At some point, even TINA voters will get exasperated.

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        1. Everything will boil down to Uttar Pradesh.If BJP loses UP which looks highly likely Modi will be reduced to lameduck Prime Minister.If BJP sweeps UP liberals will have to grin and bear Modi for another 7 years.

          My hunch is Modi can even go for early elections than 2024.Opposition will have to prepare keeping snap election in mind.modi is known for springing such surprises

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    2. Lol 70% of younger voted for RJD alliance in Bihar.In delhi youth voters mostly voted for Kejri.If the demography you are talking about votes in 2024 BJP can rather forget 2024

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  6. As the vaccine pace has picked up it is time to open schools. It is a shame that schools were closed for a year now. Karnataka government wants to close schools for another year. This is a road to disaster. If BJP really cares about middle class Indians, schools need to open as soon as possible. All across western world , schools were kept open. It is time for India to do the same.

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  7. Looks like the run-up to the 2024 Elections will throw up too many contenders for the Prime Minister-ship from the Opposition camp ( Pawar, Mamata, Rahul , Sinha etc ) And that in itself is a bad sign, going forward, for the anti-Modi forces who are hoping to craft a credible Third Front capable of speaking in one voice to a billion plus electorate. While the BJP has to a significant extent allowed Ideological Dilution and Compromise with its Core Principles by opening the floodgates for Defectors to pour in, presumably overriding all voices of concern from within, it’s hubristic penchant for dismissing any Formation consolidating against it electorally as a bunch of jokers needs to be reassesed and buried for good. After all, a party fighting for a record third term in office can ill-afford to be presumptuous if it is serious about its Mission for a Congress-Mukt Bharat. Moreover, this breathless impatience to relentlessly Expand what is touted as the Party with the largest membership in the world may well presage a time when the Party will not be able to hold firmly it’s Core Constituency of Loyal Voters–the Infighting, Factionalism and games of OneUpManship spreading in its State Units are only a foretaste of that future.
    And lastly, the devastating Second Wave and the still Reverberating Defeat in West Bengal has exposed the chinks in the invincible armour of the phenomenon called Narendra Modi. And a debacle in UP, for any number of reasons, will only further cement that perception. The BJP would do well to turn within and end the struggle between Memory and Forgetting and Practise what it Preaches, namely,

    Garv Se Kaho Hum Hindu Hain !
    Namastute Sadavatsale Matrubhumi !

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  8. Abhishek and other right wingers need to accept the Modi wave which started in late 2012 with results of Gujarat elections and held sway over the country for last 9 years with tight grip over India has come to end with the disastrous handling of second wave.You can say MODI WAVE ERA(Novermber-2012 to April 2021).

    Modi’ own pathetic handling of economy was being warned by many.But the man being so full of himself refuses to recognise the reality however stills boasts that India is world’s fastest growing economy!Even Dewe Gowda in his one year delivered better growth with a rickety coalition

    Abhishek TINA wont last long in national politics like Indira Gandhi in 1977,Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 and Atal in 2004 discovered.

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  9. TINA doesnt last long in national politics like it does in state politics.Jyoti Basu,Naveen Patnaik,Sikkim Pawan Chamling could rule on for decades but its not the case in national politics like Indira Gandhi in 1977,Rajiv in 1989 and Atal in 2004 discovered.Where was Modi till 2011.He hardly polled 5% in national PM surveys.

    Currently Modi’s approval rating is lowest of any popular incumbent PM in last 33 years.This should worry BJP than any third front or tent

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    1. Depends on your definition of “long”. TINA has propelled BJP to two full majorities. Hindus have realized that fragmenting the votes/seats in national elections only encourages corruption and horse trading. There is also the fresh example of the Maha Vasuli Aghadi in Maharashtra – totally incompetent and totally corrupt.

      Congress which is the leading opposition party barely managed 50 seats in last two elections. This kind of defeat becomes a habit very soon. Its president cannot contest from a Hindu majority constituency in future.

      The real approval rating is the national elections, everything else is Leftist bullshit. Lets wait for 2024

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