Lok Sabha polls: Near wipeout of fence-sitters shows neutrality no panacea in politics

The BJD and YSRCP received a double blow as they not only were reduced to political insignificance at the national level, but also lost power in their respective states.
Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (left) and Naveen Patnaik (File photo)
Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (left) and Naveen Patnaik (File photo)

NEW DELHI: The results of the Lok Sabha elections show that the polls were fought on a pro-Modi and anti-Modi plank as all the major parties maintaining equidistance from the two major blocs have been completely decimated.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh received a double blow as they not only were reduced to political insignificance at the national level, but also lost power in their respective states.

Commenting on the results of the Lok Sabha elections, political commentator and retired Patna University professor NK Chowdhary told The New Indian Express that no one can afford to be a fence-sitter in elections particularly where “you have a strong polarising personality leading from the front”.

“In politics neutrality means nothing, as this can only be true and of some use in academics. But politics is not academic. Elections are there to take positions and if you don’t, the blocs see you with suspicion,” Chowdhary said, while noting that neutrality weakens your strength and the same has happened to these parties.

Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (left) and Naveen Patnaik (File photo)
No last hurrah for Naveen

Echoing the views expressed by Chowdhary, political analyst and Delhi University professor Dhiraj Kumar, who teaches at Kirori Mal College (KMC), said the entire country appeared to be divided between “pro-Modi and anti-Modi” blocs and the sentiments were seen on these lines in different states.

“In UP, people voted either in support of PM Modi or against him. Since Mayawati’s BSP was supporting neither the ruling NDA not the opposition INDIA bloc, people had no choice but to dump her. Similarly, in Tamil Nadu people voted against PM Modi and the result was such that all 40 seats including one in neighbouring Puducherry went to the INDIA bloc led by the DMK and the Congress in the state,” Kumar said.

Among the losers, the YSRCP tops the chart as the party came down from its 22 members in the lower house in 2019 to four in 2024, while the BJD has been reduced to one from its strength of 12. Similarly, the BSP has been reduced to nil from eight after the 2019 elections and the BRS too drew a blank this time from its eight members in the House. The Shiromani Akali Dal won only one seat in 2024, down from two in 2019. The AIADMK, which bagged one seat last time, was winless in 2024.

However, it is interesting to note that during the course of the five years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure between 2019 and 2024, these parties supported crucial government bills in Parliament, but finally took a position of equidistance during election time.

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