The recently concluded Urban Local Body Elections in Tamil Nadu witnessed BJP’s massive growth in the state. In various districts beyond its buffer zone, BJP could win one or more wards. Most importantly, the party chose to contest alone and won more than 300 wards across Tamil Nadu.
Reportedly, BJP has now emerged as the third-largest political force in Tamil Nadu with nearly 5 percent vote bank. While the ruling party and other fringe forces keep mocking this victory, on one hand, they too somewhere agree BJP is a force to reckon with.
However, now BJP is able to achieve a massive jump in its performance without a regional political force. Well-wishers believe the party must go solo for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections. Yes, BJP (not NDA) in Tamil Nadu must contest all 39 seats.
Here are some reasons why the party cadres and supporters feel so.
Transfer of Votes
BJP is keen on relying on a strong ally like AIADMK to garner more votes. However, with the exception of the 1998 and 1999 General Elections, an alliance with AIADMK has often seen a sharp decline or stagnant growth of vote share for BJP. The best example to quote would possibly be the meager performance of BJP candidates in the 2021 assembly elections in places like Virudhunagar, Coimbatore, and Cuddalore.
Vanathi Srinivasan, despite contesting from an AIADMK stronghold seemed to have won on her own merit. Virudhunagar again is a place where AIADMK holds a massive vote bank. In 2006, MDMK under AIADMK’s umbrella won the seat and in 2011, DMDK won the seat under the same umbrella.
However, in 2021, BJP’s Pandurangan lost with a margin of 12 percent to his DMK rival. Reportedly, the lack of strong support from the AIADMK cadres on the ground is sighted as the challenge.
Sealing the Deal with the Desired Seats
In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, AIADMK was under the NDA umbrella. Based on their victories in 1998 and 1999, BJP contested and won from Sivagangai, Tiruchirapalli, Nagercoil, Nilgiris, and Coimbatore. However, the national party was fielded in the most unfortunate places such as Chennai North and Dharmapuri along with its 3 strongholds (Nilgiris, Nagercoil, and Coimbatore).
Similarly in 2019, apart from its strongholds of Kanyakumari and Coimbatore, BJP managed to get Sivagangai, Ramanathapuram, and Tuticorin. Therefore, BJP and AIADMK are almost chasing a similar vote bank and the latter is possibly stopping the chances of it contesting from the same constituencies.
Lack of Campaign Support from Ground Level Cadres of other parties
In the 2021 assembly elections, except for a few constituencies, BJP candidates were not able to campaign better. The reason is, their party does not have a strong presence in that region and they require support from their allies. However, the allies were not keen on campaigning in support of the local BJP candidate.
Impact of Going Solo
Even though BJP is now the third-largest party in the state, there is more scope for work. We see, in more than 10 districts the national party has a presence with 1 or 2 ward members. On the other hand, there is absolutely zero presence in 10 districts too.
Therefore, the party cannot contest the Lok Sabha elections all alone with the same strategy utilized for local body polls. Bringing in fringe parties like Puthiya Tamilagam, DMDK, PMK, etc would boost their morale and help them gain better. However, if AIADMK is going to be in the NDA camp, BJP must be assured of their 100 percent support.