BJP has broken its legs in Karnataka assembly polls when it fell into the pitfalls of majority politics. The party, including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left no stone unturned to polarize Hindu majority votes in their favour, but miserably failed. BJP’s loss, if translated into Lok Sabha seats, would be about 17 seats, out of 25 they had won in Lok Sabha election 2019. BJP seems to be almost driven out from the Southern states having 129 Lok Sabha seats. Political outcome from communal cauldron of BJP was disheartening for them.
The Hindus did refuse to be thrown into the communal fire, even when two fiction films – the Kashmir Files and the Kerala Story – were referred by even not less the Prime Minister of the country, implying as if the fictitious stories were true. Majority Hindus have other concerns to be addressed by political parties this time which benefited the Congress rendering humiliating defeat to the BJP.
BJP even failed to win even a single seat reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST), showing disenchantment of the tribals from the party. BJP’s ‘vanvasi’ politics completely failed, because of rising aspirations of the community that are by and large unfulfilled, since their interests were forgotten in the Hindu communal politics, which they understood very well. There are 15 ST seats in the state. BJP also could win only 12 out of 36 seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC), indicating the disillusionment among them and rising aspirations of respective castes refusing to be carried out by communal passion. BJP thus lost 10 reserved seats out of 22 the party had won in 2018 election.
It has alarmed the Central BJP leadership since there are 131 reserved seats in the Lok Sabha which included 47 seats for Scheduled Tribes and 84 for Scheduled Caste. BJP had won 77 out of 131 reserved seats in 2019 compared to only 67 in 2014. The Karnataka result shows that BJP is set to lose a large number of reserved seats in 2024 due to party’s declining appeal among STs and SCs. Communal narrative of the party is clearly not working among these communities.
Communal clashes in several states in the North East India, will affect the BJP’s prospect in 2024 general election. There are 25 seats in the region, and in almost all states there are some or the other conflicts involving Hindus and Tribal communities. Religion based polarization is seen by and large in Assam, where there are 14 Lok Sabha seats. Division of Muslim votes is most likely to be limited as we have seen in Karnataka Vidhan Sabha election and urban local bodies’ election in Uttar Pradesh. New pattern of Muslim voting may be an added advantage for Congress.
In West Bengal, the communal polarization of Hindus has almost stopped, and the BJP is undergoing an organization predicament. Central BJP leadership has asked the state leadership to settle their issues on their own and they must not see to Delhi for solution for every issue.
Hindu communal politics simply does not work in Odisha. Caste politics in Bihar and Jharkhand is steadily occupying the centre-stage. Mahtos of West Bengal and Bihar have been on agitation mode on the demand of their inclusion in ST category. BJP is against their demand, though they were highly passionate voters of the party. They have considerable strength and they can upturn the BJP’s applecart. BJP and JD(U) were alliance partner in 2019. Now they have parted their ways. BJP is almost lonely, and their alliance partners such as LJP will have limited benefit for them. Caste politics is stronger than the communal politics in Bihar.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are still showing communal passions that may work as uniting factor for Hindu voters. However, it may not add to additional seats to the BJP since they had won all 5 seats in Uttarakhand, and 62 seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2019. Shifting pattern of Muslim votes towards Congress, and disenchantment of Dalits and Tribals may work against the party. OBC votes have also shows a shift in Karnataka away from BJP, and this may also be true for the party in rest of the country. Hindu communalism is a weakened uniting force for all of these communities.
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are in one category where there is a direct contest between the BJP and the Congress. The factor due to which BJP had lost the last elections in the state, namely infighting and general disillusionment among the youth on account of joblessness continues. Communal factors have weakened because there are large number of ST and SC seats on the one hand, and OBC politics is again gaining ground.
Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have been won by the Congress and AAP respectively. Haryana people are angry over farmers issues and the injustice against women wrestlers. Delhi votes are strongly against the BJP which was reflected in the recent MCD election. Additionally, the BJP is being opposed by the people due to Delhi Ordinance. Communal Polarization of Hindus in favour of BJP may not work in the NCT. Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, people are divided and it may not add to any seat to the BJP, since it had already won 3 seats out of 6 in 2019.
Gujarat will not add any seat to the BJP, since BJP had won all 26 seats in 2019. It is most likely to lose some in the new political shift on the ground level, both on account of communal and caste factors.
Maharashtra experiment of splitting Shiv Sena is also not working in favour of BJP, which is now feeling Shinde group a liability rather than asset for the party. Moreover, communal polarization has now three beneficiaries – BJP and both the Shinde and Thackeray group. The recent cooperative election shows that the farmers are dead against BJP and Shinde. NCP and Congress may be net gainer in the new scenario. MVA may perform much better than BJP in 2024 Lok Sabha election. Caste politics is emerging stronger in the state, in which BJP’s communal polarization would take rear seat.
BJP seems to be at decline and outcome of their Hindu majority politics may not work as good as it worked in 2019. Its only hope is on disunited opposition, which may effect division of anti-BJP votes. Hindu votes are more divided on caste aspiration rather than united on communal lines. (IPA Service)