BJP can never finish Congress party in any state

Date:

BRS KCR’s regional party will survive

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

Narendra Modi has famously said that there will be” Congress Mukt Bharat “or Congress-Free India. Recently, Telangana chief Minister Revanth Reddy has said that “BRS KCR Party will disappear in Telangana “.  Both Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Telangana are wrong. No regional party in India which had tasted power has disappeared.

BJP can never finish Congress Party in any state. Only a regional party can finish Congress. Regional parties ousted Congress in Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Odisha, Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Punjab. The BJP never ousted Congress from Himachal, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka, where there are only BJP and Congress.  In fact, recently, Congress defeated BJP in Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. Regional parties started capturing power in India in 1967. No major regional party has disappeared even if they have been continuously defeated. Today, regional parties rule Bengal, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Regional parties survive in India: a. The DMK has been formed in 1949. Though DMK leadership changed hands, it is continuing and rules Tamil Nadu today. b. The ADMK was formed by MGR in 1972. After his death, Jayalalitha became leader of ADMK. Jayalalitha died in 2016. Yet, the ADMK ruled Tamil Nadu till 2021 and is now the main opposition party. c. Former Prime minister Charan Singh started Lok Dal in 1967.After his death, his son Ajit Singh led the party. After Ajit Singh’s death, his son Jayant Chaudhury now heads the party. Though small, Charan Singh’s party continues. d. Shiv sena was founded by Bal Thackeray in the 1960s in Maharashtra. After his death, his son Uddhav Thackeray took over. Though Shiv sena is splintered, the party continues. e. Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh Yadav were chief ministers of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh respectively in 1989. Both started regional parties and dumped Janata party and even today Laloo Yadav Party and Mulayam Singh parties are thriving. f. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of Bihar heads a regional party, which controls Bihar for the last 20 years and gets only 15% votes. g. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of Biju Janata Dal rules Odisha for the last 24 years. Biju Janata dal is a regional party, which is surviving for 45 years. h. Akali Dal is a 100-year-old regional party taken over by Badal’s of Punjab. Telugu Desam, Mamata Banerjee’s TMC, dozens of smaller parties in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are functioning since decades.

Regional parties survive

1. Regional parties are usually formed by a prominent person. These parties are locally controlled, and leadership is local, and people can meet them immediately. How many people can meet Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi?

2. National parties are very slow to react to local political conditions.  They are controlled from Delhi and coteries control the state party leadership. Decision-making is slow and wrong information is fed to the national leadership. Regional parties closely watch the situation.

3. National parties usually reward long term party leaders, irrespective of whether they are popular or not. A new entrant, unless he is very rich or a celebrity, will not find a place in national parties. Regional parties give tickets to all categories.

4. Politicians who don’t get a ticket from a national party turn to regional parties. There is an endless supply of ambitious politicians and regional parties answer their needs. In fact, many states have many regional parties, since the demand for tickets is high. In fact, Andhra and Telangana need many more regional parties.

5. The national parties also need regional parties so as to get votes from different sections. Some regional parties are purely caste parties and national parties have an alkaline with them for such caste votes. 

Regional parties may shrink, but never disappear:  Many regional parties shrink after defeats. But they never vanish. There is no history of any regional party vanishing. Sometimes, regional parties split or merge with other parties. Even after the founding fathers of a regional party dies, the party continues under his family or under other leaders. This is because there is a need for small regional parties. 

KCR party in Telangana: KCR party ruled Telangana for 10 years and its leader has a very big aura. KCR is also a skillful politician. KCR will control his party as long as he is alive. The party may find some leaders leaving.  But in national parties, there is no certainty that the present leadership will continue. The National leadership may change them at any minute. Revanth Reddy and BJP may wish to exterminate KCR party. But that is not possible, since the regional party is well entrenched. It becomes easy for Congress to win, if a regional party vanishes.  The BJP will not get minority votes. Therefore, Congress can get Minority votes and depend on a major dominant caste.  KCR should ensure that his party actively recruits leaders who have been abandoned by other parties. The KCR party should not take extreme stands on any issue. KCR should be moderate so that anyone feels the party is to his liking.

Nitish Kumar best model for KCR: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar gets only 15% votes. Yet, no party can form a government without him in Bihar for the last 20 years. This is because Nitish Kumar has a moderate stance on every issue. Nitish Kumar has a soft stand for Minorities and is acceptable to all sections.  Moreover, the greatest strength of Nitish Kumar is that he never hesitates to change allies. In the last few years, Nitish Kumar has switched allies 5 times. At any moment, Nitish Kumar can ditch the BJP and go to Laloo Prasad Yadav. Then suddenly, Nitish Kumar dumps Laloo Yadav and returns to BJP.  This is because the BJP and Laloo Prasad can never unite, and they welcome anyone to help them form a government.  In Telangana, the Congress and BJP can never be allies. Therefore, if KCR can maintain 20% vote share, either of these 2 parties will welcome him and he gets the leadership. Politicians think that the 2024 parliament election are crucial for the KCR Party, and he must do well. KCR need not do well in parliament elections. But he should not do badly and secure a good percentage of votes.  If KCR gets more than 25% votes, then he will definitely be ready for 2028 assembly elections. In fact, the Congress and BJP must do well in parliament elections. If any of them do badly, then someone will lose their jobs. Maybe Revanth Reddy and BJP leaders are too much in a hurry to wish KCR disappears. The political history of India for the last 60 years shows that regional parties, which taste power, never disappear. Many national parties like the Communist parties, the BSP and Sharad Pawar party have lost their national status.  DMK Chief Minister Stalin of Tamil Nadu gets only 25% votes. He has numerous small parties as allies.  What works in the rest of India will also work in Telangana. KCR party will be around for a long time, provided it is flexible, takes good advice and increases inner democracy in the party.

(The Author is a Political and Economic Analyst based in Delhi)

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