BJP Sets Its Sights on Southern Ascent

The saffron party has rolled out state-specific plans to increase its footprint in the region and ensure a ‘Cong Mukt Dakshin Bharat’

Published: 25th May 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th May 2015 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

BJP Sets

NEW DELHI: Once considered an political pariah in South India, where its brand of politics ensured that the party could never attract allies, the BJP is now gearing up to increase its footprint there, by banking on help from its friendly parties and trying to attract more leaders into the saffron fold.

Going by the response, the BJP leadership has plans to strengthen the party in the Southern states in a big way and has prepared state- specific special plans to ensure a Congress Mukt Dakshin Bharat (Congress-free South India). Many Congress and DMK leaders from the Southern states, including a former Chief Minister and the erstwhile PCC chief are also in the fray to join the BJP.

However, the BJP leadership is not in a hurry to roll out the red carpet to everybody. BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao said that many leaders are keen to join the party impressed they are with Narendra Modi’s policies, but the leadership is in the process of taking decisions going by their merit.

Apart from inducting influential political leaders into the party, the BJP leadership, buoyed by the enormous response from the party’s membership drive, wants to strengthen itself right from the booth-level in the Southern states. According to the BJP leaders, more than 25 lakh people had enrolled as party members in Andhra Pradesh. While the membership reached 40 lakh in Tamil Nadu, it was 17 lakh in Kerala and 14 lakh in Telangana. Party insiders say that this figure is five to six times higher than before.

BJP president Amit Shah visited all the Southern states and wants to go all out aggressively to strengthen the party in Kerala, where it has a minuscule presence; it doesn’t even have an MLA there. During his visit, Shah participated in a protest meeting and gave a clarion call to make it a Congress mukt Kerala in the next Assembly elections.

Though the BJP supported a separate Telangana, it won just one Lok Sabha seat and five Assembly seats in the new state in the 2014 elections. Now, the BJP leadership wants the party to emerge as a major political force in Telangana in the next four years.

During his visit to Tamil Nadu, Shah discussed the strategy to strengthen the party in the state. 

The BJP leadership has made a Union Minister the incharge of each Southern state; they will participate in party strengthening programmes with the party’s state incharges. Among those deputed are Health Minister J P Nadda for Andhra Pradesh, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Skill Development Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy for Kerala, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma for Odisha and MoS, Chemical and Fertiliser Hansraj Ahir for Telangana.


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