With ‘India first’ slogan at the Vijay Sankalp rally in Hyderabad after the two-day BJP National Executive meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the stage for the party’s future plan of aggressive expansion in non-BJP ruled states.
To accentuate his intentions, PM Modi harped on the advantage of double-engine governments in the states and questioned the regional outfits’ inability to deliver good governance.
While moving the political resolution at the National Executive, Home Minister Amit Shah spelt out the party’s future dreams in detail: “The next 30 to 40 years will be the era of the BJP and India will become a “vishwa guru” (world leader)…”
Buoyed by the success of its Maharashtra game-plan, the BJP is upbeat. It is now keen to dislodge state governments where it has so far failed due to its inability to displace regional individual or dynasty-based parties in West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This was clear from the tone and tenor of the speeches made by Modi, Shah and other BJP leaders at the National Executive.
With the Opposition in disarray, the party believes it would dominate Indian politics for the next few decades and has drawn a map for its onward victory march.
In 2014, the BJP focused on the Northeast. In 2019 itself, Amit Shah felt that the party had saturated in 18 states and it must, “look South.” Despite occasional hiccups, the journey has to continue with added momentum and aggression.
The BJP has adopted two new slogans “Look South” and its extension, “Telangana first Tamil Nadu next” at the two-day meeting at Hyderabad, which was significantly called ‘Bhagya Nagar” (City of Luck) by Prime MInister Narendra Modi, While resolutions passed at the National Executive hailed the Modi Government and its recent moves on the development and reforms front, the tone and tenor of the speeches gave an unmistakable indication that aggressive Hindutva would be at the core of its expansion expedition. The party believes that in the coming days its brand of Hindutva would create a positive wave for the BJP in Telangana region which is at present dominated by caste calculations.
The BJP has adopted a political resolution, an organisational plan and ways to reach beneficiaries of the Centre’s various welfare schemes. Its approach in Telangana would be a modified version of what it did in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP attacked second-generation dynasts such as Akhilesh Yadav. In Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao’s family rule came under severe attack. The Hindutva plank enables it to take on both the TRS and the AIMIM in Telangana.
The BJP leadership’s move to elevate rebel Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde — and not Devendra Fadnavis — as the Chief Minister in Maharashtra is part of a calculated pan to project itself as the sole crusader of Hindutva. It enables the BJP to say it sacrificed power for ‘Hindutva’. Delinking Sena from the Thackerays, the saffron party projects that an ordinary Shiv Sainik became the Chief Minister, fulfilling the dream of Balasaheb Thackeray which even his son could not guarantee. The party, thus, presents itself as the “true inheritor” of Sena’s Hindutva ideology.
The BJP leadership is aware that overemphasis on mobilisation of the majority community alone is not enough and can even misfire in the absence of the development agenda. To balance its campaign, therefore, the National Executive asked the party workers to spread out and publicise and make a special effort to reach out to the millions of beneficiaries of the Government schemes.
“The fact that for the first time the benefits of the Modi Government’s development schemes have reached the people directly has created a new vote bank for us. And unlike caste or community vote banks that are wooed by the Opposition parties, this vote banks cuts across religious social and economic barriers,” said a senior BJP leader.