Andhra BJP facing problems

Date:

(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)

Recently, media reported that sad Andhra BJP workers had written to Central BJP leadership that they are against the BJP- TDP-alliance. The main reason is that BJP workers felt that their party would be suffocated and never allowed to grow again. BJP workers don’t give public statements. It is a surprise that some have even written to their central leaders, saying that BJP will not grow and only some BJP leaders will grab tickets. For the BJP, there are 2 eras. One is before Narendra Modi became prime Minister in 2014.The second era is after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister in 2014. After 2014, BJP has grown in every corner of the country, except in Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra Pradesh, in 1998, the BJP fought alone and won 4 MPs and 18% votes.  But that percentage has come down to 1 % in 2019 elections. The BJP went for an alliance with TDP in 1999 and then again in 2014. From a high of 18% in Andhra Pradesh, BJP is down to 1% in 2019. The alliance in Andhra Pradesh seems to be political castor oil for BJP. The simple truth is that the BJP will never grow in Andhra Pradesh with such alliances.

The big question is: Was it deliberate action by some BJP leaders to stunt the natural growth of BJP in Andhra Pradesh by making it go for toxic alliances?

1. The BJP is growing in Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. It has been a force in Karnataka since 1990. In Andhra, the BJP has been stagnating, by going for alliances with the same parties.

2. Alliances work for the BJP where it is already a big dominant party and ties up with smaller parties. In Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Punjab, Jharkhand, the BJP is either in government or a strong party. But nowhere in India, has the BJP tied up with giant parties, as it is doing in Andhra Pradesh.

3. In Tamil Nadu, for decades, the BJP allied with DMK and the ADMK. The result is that like in Andhra, BJP stagnated. Now under K. Annamalai, in Tamil Nadu, BJP is growing, by fighting alone. Now as it is stronger, it may get equal alliances.  

4. In Andhra Pradesh, BJP contests MLA seats in only 5% of the area. The net result in Andhra Pradesh is that the BJP will get 3% of the votes. The BJP will never grow in this manner and will depend on other parties for a few seats.

5. A good example is Tamil Nadu and Congress party. The DMK defeated the Congress in 1967 and the Congress became the main opposition. Yet in 1971, Indira Gandhi forgot about the future and allied with the DMK for 10 Parliament seats and left the rest to the DMK. Since 1967, the Congress has stagnated and is now a small party. The same situation applies to BJP in Andhra Pradesh.

6. In Telangana, the BJP has no alliance and has now reached 15% votes in 2023 assembly elections.  

Present problems: The BJP entered into an alliance for 6 Lok Sabha MPs and 9 MLAs with Telugu Desam There is a clamor for tickets form some senior BJP leaders, mostly recent entrants. Media has reported that these leaders have great influence with central BJP leadership and have nicely assured themselves tickets. This was in contrast with 2019, when none of these leaders wanted to contest as there was no alliance. In fact, sitting MPs and MLAs ran away. The consequences of such election- leaders who assured themselves tickets Meant that seniors of BJP, who put in 30 years’ service have been shoved aside. These neglected traditional BJP leaders were told they will lose, as the surveys of alliance parties said so. Of course, when the alliance parties wanted some BJOP leader, they approved of him. The surveys seem to be “convenient surveys” only to oust senior BJP leaders. The central BJP is obviously listening to alliance parties on whom they should select. So, in effect, BJP selections seem to be done by outsiders. That is the main problem now, along with caste-favoritism.  Unless the Central BJP stops this external interference in Andhra BJP, the BJP will never grow beyond 15 votes in Andhra. Andhra BJP is losing the chance of growing in Narendra Modi’s time. The problem is that “newcomer businessmen and dominant castes “have succeeded in convincing the central BJP that it can get a few MPs.  But the price is that now the BJP leaders and workers in Andhra are demoralized. No names are being mentioned or otherwise, it may seem that the leaders have violated discipline. But it does not require to be a Chankya or an Albert Einstein to understand that Andhra BJP is now remote-controlled.  and goodbye to traditional leaders, who are grieving.  Actually, nothing seems to have changed in Andhra BJP since 2014. Many rich people sought BJP ticket in 2014, when it had an alliance with Telugu-Desam and Jana sena. When there was no alliance in 2019, these leaders vanished. Now there is an alliance, many of these leaders claim themselves tickets. But if there was no alliance, they will vanish again. Nearly 175 years ago, French writer Alphons Karr said “the more things change, the more they remain the same “.  Andhra BJP of 2024 seems to be the same BJP of 2014. The pain of the BJP workers has been heard everywhere.

(Author is a Politico, Economic analyst based at New Delhi)

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