Author: Krishnaswamy (@kristanjore) & Politicalbaaba (@politicalbaaba)
Background / Performance in LS Polls 2014
In 2014 Lok Sabha Polls, NDA which included (BJP, MDMK, DMDK, PMK , IJK, New Justice Party) were able to get 19.5% vote share. BJP contested in 9 seats and DMDK contested in 14 big Parliament seats. BJP got 5.5% votes and DMDK got 5.2% out of 19.5%.
Failure to hold onto alliances for state polls
Back in later half of 2014, Amit Shah has asked TN BJP to get 66 Lakh members, appoint Election booth agent etc. However TN BJP could not do effective membership Campaign. Their missed call membership program went flat. Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan, who is a ground level worker, along with few other leaders hit the ground and try to improve the membership. However their lack of knowledge on central Govt schemes, failure to take those schemes to the people also hit the TN BJP hard.
Modi’s silence on Cauvery water issue affected them as well. On top of it, BJP failed to take advantage of Jayalalitha’s conviction, they did badly in Srirangam bypoll. Whenever local unit Opposed ADMK, Central ministers keep visiting her causing the great confusion among the voters. JJ snubbed TN BJP president by not inviting her for swearing ceremony in 2015, but Central minister Pon.R attended that function. This gave the image of TN BJP and central BJP not in sync with each other.
There are few local leaders who wanted ADMK alliance and there are few others who were looking for DMK alliance and finally, only few wanted to lead a 3rd front like in LS Polls despite moderate success in those polls.
BJP failed to resolve the DMDK, PMK tussle on CM Candidate. BJP also did not have any CM Face. H.Raja could have been projected. But his straight forward image and him being a Brahmin leader, which is considered as a taboo in TN, stopped him from being projected.
Many BJP supporters preferred Nirmala Seetharaman as CM Candidate. But it looks Central BJP and state BJP were not at all interested in this and not ready to listen to their supporters.
However, Central BJP was firm on 2 things:
1. Not accepting Anbumani as CM candidate owning to his past corruption cases and not having clean image.
2. Not blindly accepting to All the demands of Captain (similar to 2014).
So BJP dragged this issue of PMK, DMDK alliance talks for long time.
Attempt to strike a deal with DMK as well as AIADMK failed
Then came the googly from Subramanian swamy on BJP-DMK alliance, that has caused some more damages, where DMK refuted that talks in the media, whereas real talk happened backdoor.
Then Central BJP tried alliance talks with Jayalalitha. Again few TN BJP Leaders accepted this in media, but ADMK rejected that. BJP again blinked and became laughing stock.
Finally BJP decides to go by local leadership decision
Finally, Central BJP gave up and decided to go by TN BJP way. TN BJP known for poor negotiations and denied of Election funding from Central unit, has given high 45 seats to IJK (which is sufficiently funded). TN BJP has further given Devanathan Party another 24 seats.
Now BJP filed their nomination in 156 seats. Out of this their candidate’s nomination was rejected in Pennagaram where Anbumani is contesting. So now effectively BJP is contesting in 155 Seats only.
Can it open its account in these elections?
Having lost the momentum between May 2014 and Apr 2016, BJP is now seen running from pillar to post, but it has lot of miles to cover, which is not possible in 2016.
At times, BJP gave the image, that they are contesting for “Naam ke vaaste” (Namesake). But with many tireless dedicated BJP Cadres, some of the BJP candidates are really doing some ground work to improve BJP’s vote share.
BJP Seat Share and Vote Share in Last 5 Elections
Let’s take a look at some of the important Constituencies, where BJP has chance to finish 2nd or 3rd. Please remember, if BJP can pull of any one or 2 of the below top 5 Constituencies, really we can see, there is a undercurrent among the TN voters for BJP, in spite of their many mistakes.
1. Coimbatore South: Coimbatore is heart of Kongu Region (Western TamilNadu). Vanathi Srinivasan, the candidate is TN Vice president. She is doing Brilliant and innovative campaign. Coimbatore South is also Strong constituency for BJP. There is tremendous support for her in campaigns. Amit Shah also campaigned. But Prime Minister Modi did not campaign in Coimbatore, which has led to a big disappointment among Kongu Region. She is almost sure to end up for 2nd place. But can she knock ADMK which is very strong in Kongu belt on Election day? Only time will answer.
2. Vedharanyam: This little known town is historically famous for Dhandi March. Rajaji has taken the Dhandi March in this small town only. This town is also a part of history and in memories of Famous Tamil Novel “Ponniyin Selvan” by Kalki. Here the candidate is Mr.VedaRathinam who is 3 time former DMK MLA. Vedarathinam was MLA from 1996 to 2011. In 2011, this constituency was given to PMK and he left DMK. He joined BJP in 2015. Known for his Clean image, Vedarathinam is giving tough fight to ADMK candidate O.S.Maniyan, whom he defeated in 2006. NaMo’s Campaign on May 11th also might give some edge to him.
3. Killiyoor: This belongs to Kanyakumari Parliamentary seat of P. Radhakrishna (MP). This constituency is also BJP’s stronghold and also Pon. Vijay is former 3 times MLA. (1977, 1980 from Janata Party and 1989 as independent). It looks he was in Congress for some time in between 2004-2010 and has now joined in BJP.
4. VilavanCode: Again this is from Kanyakumari Nagercoil region. Even though it appears, Congress sitting MLA Vijayadharini has advantage due to DMK alliance, BJP can finish 2nd.
5. Thiyagaraya Nagar(Chennai), popularly Called T.Nagar: This is a Central Retail Business hub. This constituency has reasonable number of Brahmin votes (West Mambalam area). This place is affected heavily during Chennai floods. With Clean image of H.Raja, good campaign he is giving ADMK Candidate Sathya run for his money. Sathya also has some land grabbing issue. DMK’s Kanimozhi (Former MP Somu’s daughter) also not looking that much strong.
In the seats below, BJP can finish 2nd or 3rd.
6. Padmanabhapuram: Nagercoil Parliament Seat. BJP won here on its own in 1996. BJP has good 20% votes and may end up 2nd here.
7. Hosur: Sudden Dark horse came into the race just few days ago, Hosur never elected any Dravidian parties MLA so far since 1977. Traditionally Congress won every time except 1996, when Janata Dal (part of MDMK) won. On the nomination day, suddenly there was a good crowd of 800-1000 people in the nomination rally, which nobody expected. BJP got 10% votes in 2006 and 2011.
Also, “Thali” near-by constituency which was won by Left Party Ramachandran see sudden surge of BJP votes.
So sensing some opportunity, PM Modi campaigned here. He did the campaign in 2011.
8.Nagercoil: The candidate here is M.R.Gandhi. Gandhi sir is a veteran and having clean image. Now with Pon.R as Minister might help him. But DMK’s strong man Suresh Rajan fights here, Gandhi might come 3rd . He has slight chance to finish 2nd.
Apart from these 8 seats, BJP has good chance to improve their vote share in Mettupalayam, Coimbatore North, SingaNallur, KoundanPalayam, Soolur, KinaththuKadavu, Colachel, Kanniyakumari, Virugambakkam, Pattukkottai and Palladam.
Apart from these seats, BJP has good prospects to get above 5% votes in Kolathur, (K.T.Raghavan known face against Stalin), Tambaram (Vedha), Chennai Egmore (Maa Venkatesan writer on Hindutva Ambedkar), Alandur and Velachery.
From BJP alliance, IJK expected to do well in few central TN assembly constituencies.
To sum up, BJP may end up getting a couple of seats and NDA as a whole 2-5 odd seats with vote share of c.5%. It has only itself to blame for this state of affairs. It failed to capture the good vibe it created in LS polls due to Modi factor. PWF may end up getting more seats / vote share than NDA. Missed chance. It should have lead Third Front like in LS polls.
1. Can Amma overturn the trend? – Blog (PB)
2. Does Jayalalithaa have a chance of coming back as Tamil Nadu CM? – India Today Dailyo (PB + SC)
3. The Love Hate Relationship between BJP & Amma – India Today DailyO (PB)