DC Edit | BJP gets poll machine in top gear for 2024
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
A week is a long time in politics, they say. But what differentiates the BJP from the other political parties in India is that even 16 months, the time between now and the next Lok Sabha elections, is too short a span for the saffron party and it has switched to top gear already.
The reports of the party going into a major huddle to assess its prospects in as many as 160 constituencies across the country just fit into the pattern of the party’s electoral preparedness. It has estimated that it will face stiff resistance in these constituencies where it has come second or third in the past but still has the potential to win. It is holding brainstorming sessions of the in-charges of each of these constituencies in Patna and Hyderabad this month. The sessions will seek ways to expand the organisational machinery and boost voter outreach in all these constituencies. The party will go all out to see it win, and is expected to draft senior politicians and ministers to these constituencies to achieve its targets.
When the BJP led the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) into power in the 1990s under Atal Behari Vajpayee, it comprised as many as 23 parties with their roots in most shades of the political spectrum, from the socialists to the Congress to Dravidian parties. Today, the party is left with no major allies, except the Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, the Shiv Sena faction led by the Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde. It cannot go unnoticed that its two allies — the united Shiv Sena and the Janata Dal (United) — helped the alliance sweep the Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra and Bihar, respectively. All those seats could be vulnerable now.
It’s not that preparedness and campaigning alone win elections. The BJP’s electoral history, even the recent one, proves that. Voters in two of the three states have rejected the party, which made history in the third. It cannot also be that the party let its machinery down in the two states where it lost; the party was on an overdrive in those states, instead.
However, the approach to the elections matters in a democracy as the polls themselves do. While the ruling party takes power and the means to capture it very seriously, the Opposition parties share none of that approach. The Congress has not finished congratulating itself for having conducted organisational elections after decades nor has it designed programmes to harvest the goodwill party leader Rahul Gandhi has earned for it through his Bharat Jodo Yatra. The Left parties which held a sway in the polity much beyond their share of seats in Parliament appear to be in limbo. That close to half of the seats in the Lok Sabha come from states which are ruled by parties other than members of the NDA has not become a point for the regional outfits to think of a joint platform.
Early birds need not necessarily catch all the worms in politics. But having machinery ready for the job gives a party a definite advantage.