BJP Surge Evident in South
The trend line for political analysts on poll prospects for decades has been that the BJP has no stand-alone chance in the entire South India. In Maharashtra the party has to work with the Shiv Sena, in Andhra piggyback on TDP, in Tamil Nadu seek an alliance with either of the Dravida parties, in Karnataka the dominant Lingayat community decides, in Kerala the party is squeezed between the UDF and the LDF.
The scene seems to have dramatically changed almost overnight with the BJP announcing its prime ministerial candidate on the one hand and the frustration of local people with the politics of convenience of the regional parties and their satraps. Also to be factored in is the collapse of the Congress in the region due to its regional leadership’s failures and the overpowering inflation. Besides the southerners are reading every day how BJP-led state governments north of the Vindhyas and in Gujarat are making waves that led to consecutive electoral successes.
Proxy Wars Within Congress
It is bad enough for the Congress that it suffered a humiliating defeat in the recent elections to the four state assemblies. But worse is still to follow. Realising that the dynastical charisma of the mother-son duo was losing its electoral sheen, the Congress men and the allies are up in arms against the high command at least in the three major states—Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala—where the aging party is still in power.
The beleaguered Congressmen have reacted to the crushing debacle in two ways. Some are just too stunned to say anything and are quietly looking for other options to secure their uncertain political future. For most of them ideology and commitment to the party programmes are a matter of connivance. And there are others who have decided to take the bull by the horns, challenge the high command and stage an open revolt.