Tapping 5 states in south is key to BJP’s expansion blueprint

The BJP’s reasoning is that as the Congress is unlikely to emerge strong anytime soon, the BJP could become the alternative, by default, if not by design.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | Updated: May 12, 2017 9:42 am
BJP, BJP expansion, amit shah, amit shah south india, bjp south india, india news, indian express BJP president Amit Shah has given a South Mission blueprint to party leaders. (Source: File Photo)

KEY to the BJP’s ambition of nationwide dominance is its plan to expand its base in southern India on the back of the RSS and the appeal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To that effect, BJP chief Amit Shah has given a “South Mission” blueprint to party leaders that aims to tap into the fluid political situation and prospective re-alignments in five states: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, party sources have told The Indian Express.

“In these states, a strong RSS network has been built over the years and this will form the natural platform for the plan to take off,” said a senior BJP leader. The party’s “South Mission” faces its first test in Karnataka which goes to polls later this year. Critical to South Mission is also the import of established leaders from other parties, bringing in some of the party’s own leaders from other states, induct popular film stars and even break local parties.

BJP, BJP expansion, amit shah, amit shah south india, bjp south india

“The situation is fluid in Tamil Nadu. Although the internal crisis in AIADMK has left the party in a disarray, the DMK is not in a position to take advantage of it. Because, unlike in the past, when people in the state tolerated corruption under J Jayalalithaa or M Karunanidhi, today’s population is in no mood to see the corrupt in power. They want to get rid of them. M K Stalin is not even making an attempt to stand against corruption,” said P Muralidhar Rao, BJP General Secretary in charge of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The BJP’s reasoning is that as the Congress is unlikely to emerge strong anytime soon, the BJP could become the alternative, by default, if not by design. But that’s easier said than done. For the time being, though, the party leadership doesn’t want to rock any boat ahead of the Presidential elections in which the NDA requires support of an undivided AIADMK.

BJP leaders believe that roping in a popular film star into the party structure in the state — where cine artists have made it big in electoral politics — will help script its success. The BJP’s plan to get Rajnikanth hasn’t quite been a success. The superstar’s meeting with BJP candidate in R K Nagar bypolls Gangai Amaran refreshed such speculation — but sources said the party had other popular stars like Vishal and Vijay also in mind. “A popular star at the leadership position can change the situation dramatically. Getting one of them at the helm of affairs is one of our plans,” said a party leader familiar with the state unit.

In neighbouring Kerala, the BJP’s calculation is that the fall of the Congress at the national level will hasten its decline in the state. And the fight within the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF will also help. “The minority or the demography no longer remain a challenge to the BJP in its electoral performance,” added Rao.

The weakening of the Congress and the divide within the Left could trigger “major political changes and realignment,” in the state, a leader said adding: “(In Kerala) there will be an anti-Communist alignment and the BJP will be a major player in it,” a leader said.

Getting a superstar is part of BJP’s Kerala strategy as well. While Suresh Gopi is already a Rajya Sabha member from the state, Mohanlal is another actor the party would like to get on board.

In Telangana, party leaders say, it isn’t easy for the Congress to take the anti-TRS space as “both the ruling TRS and the Congress follow the same policies.” Congress has already been weakened after many of its leaders, including sitting MLAs, joined the TRS.

“The Opposition space will be occupied by the BJP in Telangana,” said one BJP leader. The BJP has already launched an agitation against the Telangana government’s decision to increase quota for backward Muslims.

In Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP is in alliance with the ruling TDP, BJP sees space for serious bargaining. The prominent Opposition party YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is facing fresh trouble in his disproportionate assets case and the BJP feels his political career will be on the backburner until he is absolved of these charges.

Interestingly, Jagan Mohan Reddy who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his official residence yesterday, said the YSR Congress will offer support to any candidate the BJP fields for the upcoming Presidential election. “We have very less difference in opinion. Except for differences on the land acquisition bill and special status for Andhra Pradesh, we share similar opinions on various issues which we think are pro-people,” Jagan told reporters after the meeting.

In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP also wants to woo former Congress leaders who did not join the YSR Congress. In poll-bound Karnataka, the BJP is banking on anti-incumbency undermining the JD-Secular and the Congress.

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  1. R
    Ruru Koshy
    May 12, 2017 at 11:19 pm
    I'm extremely sorry for being such a racist ... But, Modi Government is forcing me to say it... 1) Control our diet... Forcing us to be a Vegetarian and forcing not to eat Cow Meat... 2) Forcing us to learn the Aryan Languages "Sanskrit and Hindi"... 3) Forcing us to worship the Aryan God "Ram"... even if you are atheist... 4) Forcing us to hate another...
    Reply
    1. R
      Ruru Koshy
      May 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm
      Blood is thicker than Religion and Nation... I don't find any difference between a North Indian and a stani... 'cause they all belong to the same sub-race, Indo-Aryan... and I'm a Dravidian... and we don't want any North Indian Aryan Party down here in the Dravidian Land... 'cause All what that Aryan Party BJP is force us to do is hate an another... Thanks to the Communist Party in Kerala and the Dravidian and Secular Parties in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka in stopping the invading foreigners from North India...
      Reply
      1. L
        Lovely
        May 12, 2017 at 7:49 pm
        BJP will indulge in uistic terrorism and south indians will be second cl citizens forever . They openly say they will promote hindi at the cost regional languages but not impose hindi. What is the difference?
        Reply
        1. C
          Curious onlooker
          May 12, 2017 at 3:28 pm
          Kerala would not want to see the goodwill that exist among the three main religious groups in the State ruined by the arrival in their midst a dogmatically religious party to plant dissension. The recently concluded state elections saw Modi and Shah being soundly rebuffed for their impudence comparing Kerala to one of the lawless states in Africa. Po Mone Modi Po, an order by people to "go away" should not be easily forgotten. Any attempt to divide the people will meet with the same verdict.
          Reply
          1. S
            SP
            May 12, 2017 at 2:28 pm
            Anybody who does extensive train travel in southern states of Karnataka , Kerala , Tamilnadu , and Andhra Pradesh would have observed as the person is travel in the Middle East - stations and trains having domineering numbers of burqua clad women and bearded men. Though official statistics show much less demographic profile of the community. BJP should be able to mobilize good percentage of citizens as one block riding on this general resentment. Time is ripe now to propagate awareness of Hindutva in southern states too , and it will be easier in southern states because of their affinity to Hindu culture and spirituality.
            Reply
            1. N
              narayan kutty
              May 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm
              B J P lacks even single gifted leader in South India.
              Reply
              1. V
                vatsal
                May 12, 2017 at 12:03 pm
                Venkaiah Naidu of BJP (is considered in Telangana) as more of TDP man (than of BJP) and this prevented TRS from having truck with BJP. In this backdrop the decision of BJP sail alone in Telangana (independent of TDP) has given BJP better acceptability in Telangana and TRS has responded by offering to support BJP/NDA Presidential candidate. in Andhra State (presently it is bi-polar) with TDP and YSR Congress being near neck to neck. BJP's alliance with TDP provided 2 vote differential to TDP to overtake YSR Congress. Due to this YSR Congress wants BJP to be equi-distant to TDP and YSR Congress so that it can have an even chance. BJP is now a marginal player in Andhra (despite alliance with TDP). Hence being equvi-distant to TDP and YSR Congress would suit BJP as it can grow. Besides, due to distancing itself with TDP in Telangana, it is set to emerge as Number Two in Telangana. Thus BJP gets better placed sans pressure of allies.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Rajpal
                  May 12, 2017 at 8:17 am
                  Kautilaya Motu cannot mislead south. Fool worshjiop fools.
                  Reply
                  1. H
                    Henri
                    May 12, 2017 at 9:23 am
                    They already ruled Karnataka. Grew from nothing to rule am and other states. When DMK got 0 they won 1 in Kanyakumari in 2014. Anything is possible in politics. Fools only vote whom you vote.
                    Reply
                  2. M
                    madhu
                    May 12, 2017 at 8:14 am
                    dear sir Pl expand your party with values 1) pl. do not recruit corrupted politicians it brings value down, rumor in telangana you plan to recruit a politician he was involved in "note for vote case", people has seen in media these politician giving money to MLA 2) Do not recruit actors, they do zero work to community, we have seen telugu state actors started party, then merged with another party, when no party not winning came to movie instead doing public work.
                    Reply
                    1. S
                      SubbuI
                      May 12, 2017 at 7:50 am
                      WHAT EVER THESE GANGHI GOONS TRY THE BJP WILL NOT AND CAN NOT PENETRATE IN TO TAMIL NADU AND KERALA.ALSO IN AP AND TELENGANA THEY NEEDA THIRD PARTYSUPPORT. YEs in KARNATAKA COMMUNAL ELEMENTS HAS PENETRATED IN TO THE POLITICS AND SHOW UP HERE AND THERE. BENGAL. ODISHA AND BIHAR IS OUT OF THEIR HANDS. NORTH EAST WILL NEVER BE EASY BJP WILL TAKE TWO MORE DECADES TO THINK OF EVEN BECOMING ALL MY NDIA PAN PARTY. NALAYAK NMODI IS NOT" CHIRANGEEV". MODI GONE, BJP GONE
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                      1. N
                        Nagarajan P
                        May 12, 2017 at 7:40 am
                        BJP you're welcome to rule the southern states especially TN, but do educate TN BJP leaders, how to react for criticism and crisis, not to say its the act of aathangvaadhi or supported by aathangvaadhi never try to overrule sentiments of people of TN by imposing. in your mission add developments and allocate proper fund, just ask you few questions : what happened to bullet train project between chennai and bangalore increase the no. of smart cities and AIIMS hospital in south atleast you guys realised only north part is not india, it consists of southern part, and also remember it contains northeast part
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          syed ansar
                          May 12, 2017 at 7:36 am
                          BJP doesn't know south and has misconception that the magic of north will work in south........it seems they failed to understand the message given by jallikattu protest...to say the least. ....
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                          1. M
                            Mahender Goriganti
                            May 12, 2017 at 7:49 am
                            Dumb explanation by a dumb especially about Jallikattu & its relevance to Tamil politics. let alone different reason in each of the other 4 states
                            Reply
                          2. T
                            Truth
                            May 12, 2017 at 7:28 am
                            Two great sons of Gujarat in deep discussion on how to "Whiten" the Southern States living in the "Dark Ages" !
                            Reply
                            1. M
                              Mahender Goriganti
                              May 12, 2017 at 7:50 am
                              Truth by a dumb con??
                              Reply
                              1. T
                                Truth
                                May 12, 2017 at 8:27 am
                                For a dumb, deaf and blind "Ghanti" bhakt like you, Truth is a bitter medicine !
                              2. H
                                Henri
                                May 12, 2017 at 9:26 am
                                Have they not done in North East, Haryana and other states. Are you an ostrich? Who won in Kanyakumari when DMK got 0 in 2014?
                                Reply
                                1. T
                                  Truth
                                  May 12, 2017 at 10:30 am
                                  You must be a monkey 🐒.....and a blind one at that !
                                  1. J
                                    Jeslin Patricya
                                    May 12, 2017 at 10:58 am
                                    Kanyakumari will never vote BJP again...they have learnt now.
                                2. R
                                  Rams
                                  May 12, 2017 at 6:47 am
                                  South need Peace not BJP otherwise we will see South burning like Saharanpur (UP) under Yogi Raj. UP has become totally lawless under BJP and Hindu Yuva vahini, anti romeo fake goons and Gau Rakshaks unleased on helpless weak citizens to promote BJP hate ideology.
                                  Reply
                                  1. M
                                    Mahender Goriganti
                                    May 12, 2017 at 7:51 am
                                    Seems like Islamic express paid jihadi on troll.
                                    Reply
                                    1. R
                                      Raghu
                                      May 12, 2017 at 8:15 am
                                      Gaurakhshas troll elert!
                                      1. T
                                        Tushar
                                        May 12, 2017 at 9:22 am
                                        U are collecting bag full 😂😂😂from all....
                                        1. M
                                          manikantan
                                          May 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm
                                          You are paid sanghi troll. Shame on your leaders who call themselves strong presiding over 2000 kil s.
                                      2. R
                                        Raj
                                        May 12, 2017 at 6:26 am
                                        People of South are intelligent and highly educated and may not fall in the fraud of Religious political Thugs destroying the country in the name of religion.
                                        Reply
                                        1. M
                                          Mahender Goriganti
                                          May 12, 2017 at 7:54 am
                                          BJP is not a communal party like all others are (U name it, so called any secular parties but factually nothing but caste & communal) . Politics in south are no exception except in places where Muslims don;t matter much.
                                          Reply
                                          1. K
                                            Khera
                                            May 12, 2017 at 8:26 am
                                            Do u belong to Bajrang Dal, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Fake anti-Romeo, Gau Rakshak or simply a Chaddi Troll?
                                            1. T
                                              Tushar
                                              May 12, 2017 at 9:25 am
                                              Bjp is not a co.munal party .since RSS joined it and have a dominance it is very much communal parties ..every agenda has a point of isolating a particular community ...And that is going to back bite them and eliminate them from politics .Coz Indians love peace regardless to any religion caste supremacy ... Hindus give importance to peace n Harmony more than dominance & violence .They know RSS agenda is not a practical one Jai hind
                                          2. L
                                            Lovely
                                            May 12, 2017 at 6:22 am
                                            BJP came to power in Karnataka due to di power not BJP . Please note BJP is viewed as north Indian party. Moreover , they will impose Hindi on unwil south Indians. For eg Rajnath Singh HM is fond of Hindi only. Unfortunately,in recent past BJP is pushing very hard for promotion of hindi in south.
                                            Reply
                                            1. J
                                              John
                                              May 12, 2017 at 6:11 am
                                              It's not easy task for BJP in Tamilnadu as the writer think. People of TN believes that BJP is playing dirty politics and the main reason current political uncertainty in the state. More over in recent past people got the fear that Modi Ji is pushing Hindi in to TN.
                                              Reply
                                              1. L
                                                Lalitha Lakshmanan
                                                May 12, 2017 at 5:34 am
                                                BJP with full force should work hard to bring back the southern states to the main stream. The leaders of the party in all levels should be given complete training i.e how to speak, how to behave, how to lead to simple way of life, how to lead the people in such a way development in all levels should flourish with a main aim of equality, service, and destroy the difference between groups of people with a caste or colour or religion. Corruption should be completely removed from all levels.
                                                Reply
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