Opposition politics in India is changing fast, especially after the remarkable performance of the Congress in Karnataka assembly polls. The party was able to throw BJP out of power in the state due to a paradigm shift in the minority, OBC, ST, and SC votes towards the party, which has served as an alert not only to the BJP but also to other opposition political parties.
A preliminary assessment of the Congress performance shows that if it maintains such a performance during the Lok Sabha election, BJP could lose its 17 seats out of 25 it had won in the 2019 Lok Sabha election from this state. BJP has altogether 29 seats from South Indian states where there are 129 seats out of 543 in the Lok Sabha. BJP thus faces a prospect of winning Lok Sabha seats merely in single digit from Southern India.
Though the BJP is trying its best to penetrate in the southern states, the party has bleak chances of success. If the party is almost driven out from the southern states, their only refuse is the northern India. BJP had won 283 seats from northern India in 2019 Lok Sabha Election, many of them are now threatened by the rise of Congress, as we have seen in Karnataka. In Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan, BJP had won 28, 9 and 24 seats respectively, very many of them they are likely to lose in 2024 even if we take into account the single factor or shift in minority votes towards Congress reducing the chances of division of their votes among other political parties. ST, SC and OBC votes seen shifting in Karnataka in large numbers is an additional concern for the BJP.
Shift in Minority votes towards Congress has been seen recently in Uttar Pradesh too, during the Municipal bodies’ elections. BJP had won 62 seats from the state in 2019 Lok Sabha election, and any loss of seats this time would prove costly to the party. Though Congress lost at least three seats to BJP in Municipal Corporation, it sufficiently indicated a shift in Muslim votes towards the Congress at the cost of Samajwadi Party candidates.
The Congress candidate lost to the BJP candidate by around 3500 votes in Moradabad, was runner up in Jhansi, and left behind by only about 30,000 votes in Shahjahanpur. The shift in the Muslim votes away from SP is an alarm for the hitherto adamant Akhilesh Yadav who had announced to contest the Lok Sabha poll without the alliance with Congress. Rather he said that his party would make alliances with the regional party. However, the regional parties, such as RLD, seem not keen for alliance with SP. RLD leader Jayant Choudhary is seriously trying to make an alliance with the Congress ignoring SP. Uttar Pradesh urban local bodies election has sufficiently revealed that SP cannot take Muslim support for granted, and hence Congress, BSP, and AIMIM are trying their best to woo Muslim votes away from SP. The new pattern of voting by Muslims is an alert for all opposition political parties in Uttar Pradesh.
BJP is therefore happy in this situation and they have set their target to win all 80 Lok Sabha seats. This target is too ambitious on account of disenchantment among the youth with a large number of them unemployed. The highest number of independents in the municipality election in the state shows that there is an undercurrent of anti-establishment sensibilities among the people due to which BJP won much less seats.