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North-South divide misplaced: A Pan India SWOT analysis of BJP-Congress politics

By Rakesh Ranjan- 12 Jan 2024
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New Delhi (12.01.2024): Organisationally south-heavy Congress with President Mallikarjuna Kharge from Karnataka, General Secretary K C Venugopal from Kerala, Media in-charge Jairam Ramesh again from Karnataka, former Home Minister P Chindabaram from Tamil Nadu and Rahul Gandhi representing Wayanad Lok Sabha in Kerala has created a new North-South debate with the BJP having strong grip over north-Indian states.

If the Congress lost Rajasthan, it won Karnataka with better prospects in every term and to compensate the loss of Chhattisgarh, there was a victory in Telangana. These changes have given more strength to this north-south debate. These two states are financially better than Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh for the Congress but on the other hand BJP has its sway over the entire north and west Indian politics except Himachal Pradesh. It is in command over J&K with Lt Governor and North East for being in power at the Centre.

The Congress is trying hard to regain north with various strategies including the recently announced Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra of Rahul Gandhi from east to west but Congress’ strategy to understand the psyche of people of north by advisors from the southern part of the country appears misplaced. The Congress' decision of not attending the consecration ceremony of Ram Temple in Ayodhya is being looked upon from that perspective only but the argument that refusal to attend the programme will harm the party is half-truth. It would have also harmed the party had it attended the programme.

On the contrary, the BJP is relying on its regional leaders of south and even sacrificed AIADMK in Tamil Nadu on the advice of state BJP president K Annamalai. He convinced Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and they convinced Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue. The Congress doesn’t have any such strategist who understands the sensibility of people of the north. Leaders like Digvijay Singh are short sighted who are more bothered with career fixation of his son than revival of the party.

Deviating from the core strength has been the biggest problem of the Congress which has cost it dear and it lost one after another state forever like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Delhi and lastly Punjab. West Bengal is too old a story to discuss even. Coming back to the North-South divide, the BJP still has more seats in the Lok Sabha from south than the entire opposition. The moment you pit one against another in politics, you lose support of one of them, so the Congress needs to revisit its strategy as North has more seats and even with 100 per cent support from the south will not catapult the Congress to power. This is a strategic flaw. The Congress will have to go back to basics of being the party from across the country which still has votes in every nook and corner of the country.

The BJP is working in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala for the next 10 years. It knows well that nothing has happened with all its experiments in Kerala from fielding cricketer Shreesanth to Metro man E Sreedharan, so it is focusing on just five Lok Sabha seats in the state. Apparently, the Congress is waiting for some miracle to happen which seems improbable with all wrong decisions like North-South political divide.

(Rakesh Ranjan)

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