I don’t have to repeat what others would say as the happenings are quite presumable. Yes, election fever is on in Tamil Nadu and BJP is putting up all of its efforts to make a mark this time. An alliance with AIADMK and the existing allies or an alliance with Rajinikanth. Well, I’m not talking about all those speculations now. As the days pass on, we will get to know.
Rather, I would like to focus on BJP’s winnability. Isn’t it quite baffling? In 2014, BJP swept Central and Northern India. Even Karnataka voted in their favour. But there was absolute nullity in states that elect the most number of MPs. Yes, Tamil Nadu is one among them.
The 2004 results is the best example of BJP losing out despite it being the single largest party. Poor post poll strategies and losing out in key states were the potential reasons. Anyhow, BJP’s tally in 2019 in West Bengal and Orissa changed the dynamics. Similarly, the saffron party is now looking South to craft a similar success story.
Shifting Focus to Tamil Nadu
According to some political gurus, they eye to become the opposition in 2021 and the ruling party in 2026. But the question is, can they achieve it? Well, I’m not underestimating their ability, but in a state where BJP is fighting the odds over its Hindutva agenda and is accused of Hindi inclusion, winning seats does seem a distant dream.
But we cannot say, the entire population is avoiding BJP. They have been consistently getting the 2 percent which they usually did. And they did win 4 out of 21 contested in 2001. In some constituencies in Southern Tamil Nadu, they captured the second place consecutively. This definitely means, there is scope for BJP to win their desired double digit numbers in the upcoming elections. Provided, they project themselves as the winning party/alliance.
Here are some constituencies where BJP has the winning potential
1996 assembly elections is something no one can forget. Yes, after her first stint as the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa was voted out of power with a landslide defeat. But something which people failed to note was, BJP opening its account for the first time in the state. Since then, BJP has consistently given a tough fight in this constituency. Anyhow, the seat went to AIADMK in 2001 followed by DMK in 2006, 2011 and 2016 too.
If one looks at the historical chart, BJP has given a tough fight to the Dravidian parties despite its low profile presence in the state. In 2006, it got pushed to the fourth place with the advent of Vijaykanth’s DMDK. Anyhow, with DMDK and AIADMK becoming their natural ally, BJP is all set to recapture its bastion.
Mylapore mostly drifted towards AIADMK since MGR rolled it out. Before that, it was a Congress bastion. Surprisingly, in 2001, BJP with DMK as its ally, did win Mylapore. The sizable number of upper caster population in localities such as Mylapore, Mandaveli, Adyar and others are seen as the deciding factor in this constituency. With a strong show and fielding S Ve Shekhar as their candidate, BJP could very well win this seat.
Well, this is part of BJP’s comfort zone. The reason being, the voters having a national outlook. In addition to this, the consolidation of hindu votes which is largely favouring the BJP. In all these elections from 2006, BJP has gained a minimum of 20 percent vote share. Sometimes, it did finish second. If BJP can put forth a strong show with a potential candidate then this constituency is theirs to grab.
Like Nagercoil and Padmanachapuram, Vilavancode has similar dynamics. In 2016 polls, the BJP candidate C Dharmaraj finished second with 21.98 percent vote share. Yet, Vijayadharini of Congress managed to get double the number of votes and won. Again, a strong candidate can consolidate hindu votes and make way for a BJP victory.
If one looks at the chart of 2011 and 2016, there must be a dramatic difference. The same BJP which garnered just 5 percent of votes in 2011, went on to grab 17 percent in 2016 with Vanathi Srinivasan. Interestingly, Vanathi Srinivasan ate into ADMK’s prospects is what we possibly see here. For the first time, she gave a tough fight and finished third. But her winning prospects were marginally high. This could mean a chunk of 49.92 percent women vote bank voted in favour of her. If BJP is fielding her again, this can end up in their kitty.
When it comes to East, Central and Northern Tamil Nadu, several districts favour DMK. But, we cannot rule out the fact that some of these constituencies are of national importance. That’s one reason why BJP managed to win Mayiladuthurai in 2001 (as an ally of DMK though). But, contesting on their own capacity too BJP managed to make a mark for themselves.
Here again, we can take the reference of 2006 results. Almost in all constituencies in Kanyakumari district, BJP came second. Even though, the vote share stood at a distant 24 percent, the notable fact is that AIADMK was pushed to the third place. Consecutively, 2011 and 2016 had the same pattern. This means, BJP with a strong show has a potential to win 6 out of 6 assembly segments in the Kanyakumari district. Development of Colachel Seaport by the Modi government is a positive factor that could favour the saffron party here.
Bordering Karnataka, Hosur is yet another potential seat where BJP could win. In 2006, L K Advani, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and various other leaders did a good amount of campaigning here. Yet, it went to an independent candidate. In the upcoming elections, Congress had a hold over this constituency. BJP as well consistently performed well by garnering nearly 20,000 votes each time. This could mean they have the potential to win this constituency with lower margins.
Killiyoor does have the same pattern as other constituencies falling under the Kanyakumari district. Therefore, the potential to win is pretty high. But again, choosing allies could be even more fruitful. A strong candidate like Pon Radhakrishnan could turn all the 6 constituencies in BJP’s favour.
Well, these are some seats which could possibly land at BJP’s basket. Winnability still depends on the campaigning and the alliance partners. With Rajinikanth’s entry, the dynamics could drift away as well. Still, we are months ahead for the election.
But by the end of this month, all political parties will come up with a solid plan to be prepared for their litmus test. Both AIADMK and DMK are facing an existential crisis with the absence of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi respectively. Will both of them manage to exist breaking all the odds? Let us see.