In the highly polarized atmosphere of the country today, it is not at all surprising that some so-called political analysts are interpreting the outcome of the Karnataka assembly elections as the beginning of the end for the Bharatiya Janata Party. They predict that what happened in the southern state would be repeated at the national level in 2024.
These habitual doomsayers, however, fail to realize that resilience has been the core strength of BJP, the most powerful political party in the country today. The party has seen many ups and downs in its long history and bounced back each time someone tried to write its political obituary.
It is the same party which could win just two Lok Sabha seats in 1984. Back then no one could have realized that the party would one day rule the country. But it has stunned the world by winning two back-to-back mandates in 2014 and 2019. Notwithstanding the doomsday prophecies of naysayers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the supreme leader of BJP, seems set to win another mandate in 2024. That will be a new record.
Karnataka is being so much written about because it was the only southern state under BJP’s rule. It was seen as the party’s gateway to the entire south where it no doubt wants to see itself in power one day. But Karnataka is not India. And the BJP still has the satisfaction of being the second largest party in the state and continues to play the role of the main opposition party effectively.
The BJP leadership remains confident about making a comeback in Karnataka as it has done in the past. Right now, the focus of the party is on the country at large, especially on the Hindi heartland where the bulk of the Lok Sabha seats lie. While the BJP is in an extremely comfortable position in Uttar Pradesh with chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s popularity on the rise, it remains confident of doing well in Madhya Pradesh and even Chhattisgarh.
There is no denying that Rajasthan, despite the internal problems of the incumbent Congress government, will be a tough battle for the BJP but the party remains hopeful. All that the party needs to do is to strengthen its local leadership so that it can tap into the popular discontent against the Congress government effectively.
In Bihar, too, the BJP remains in a strong position despite the betrayal of Janata Dal (U) boss Nitish Kumar who deserted the NDA to join hands with the Mahagathbandhan. Although Kumar has managed to cling to the chief minister’s chair using such tactics even he knows that his ‘palturam’ (one prone to making political somersaults) image is going to cost him dear in the next elections. The BJP already has some new allies in Bihar. The overall political scenario of the country should, thus, fill the BJP leadership with hope and confidence for the future. As the party gears up for the 2024 battle in a big way, the debacle in Karnataka is water under the bridge.