Modi 2.0: It’s BJP vs regional powers as Congress struggles to revive | India News
Not only did the BJP improve its performance in 2014, it also created a record by winning the most on its own.
The first two years of the Modi 2.0 government have seen the BJP successfully split the opposition to gain the support of major regional parties for key legislation in Parliament.
While Congress continues to fight to act together and make significant impact, it is regional leaders who are now leading the fight against the BJP.
Here’s a look at the state of opposition parties in the last two years.
Congress is the largest constituent party of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). However, he has lost every state election since 2019 except those in which he contested as a minority partner by forging regional alliances.
The only states where Congress could reappear in assembly polls are Maharashtra and Jharkhand. But in both states, it is the junior partner of the regional allies.
In Maharashtra, Congress joined with its ideological opponent, Shiv Sena, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form the government.
In Jharkhand, Congress allied with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to form a coalition government.
In Tamil Nadu, Congress managed to get on the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), which achieved an impressive victory to return to power.
In West Bengal, the Congress, aligned with the left, was left blank and completely uprooted in a sharp battle between the TMC and the BJP.
In Kerala, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) failed to defeat the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) despite the state’s history of alternating between the two fronts.
In Assam, Congress led an eight-party alliance called ‘Mahajot’, but failed to overthrow the BJP-led NDA government, which won a second consecutive term in the state.
In Puducherry, the congressional-led UPA government lost twice since 2019. First, the congressional-DMK government lost the vote of confidence in 2020 and then, in the 2021 elections, granted status to the NDA.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
In the 2019 general election, DMK was the only party in the UPA alliance that alone reduced the footprint of the NDA partners in the Lok Sabha elections.
The DMK won 24 of the Lok Sabha’s 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, a massive jump from zero seats it won in 2014.
In the 2021 assembly elections, DMK recorded a landslide victory after spending a decade as the largest opposition party in the state assembly.
In addition to Tamil Nadu, the DMK also increased its tally in the 2021 Puducherry assembly elections from two to six.
Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party
The SP and the BSP, who were longtime rivals in Uttar Pradesh, came together to form a ‘Maha’-gathbandhan ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to take on the BJP. However, a poor performance in the general elections and the failure to make a dent in the BJP in the UP put an end to the short-lived alliance.
Since then, both sides have failed to make a big mark.
Several opposition party leaders came together before the 2019 general elections to form a ‘third front’ against the ruling BJP. (Photo credit: PTI)
Outside of UP, the SP won two seats in the 2019 Maharashtra assembly elections. It joined the government of Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) led by Shiv Sena.
Apart from Maharashtra, the UP-based SP has not achieved any victories in any other assembly elections since 2019.
However, ahead of next year’s assembly elections in UP, the party led by Akhilesh Yadav has performed very well in the three-tier panchayat polls held in May 2020.
The panchayat polls are not disputed on party symbols, yet the SP-backed candidates won more than 1,000 seats compared to the BJP, which was able to record victories in just 800 seats.
Since 2019, the BSP participated in the elections of the assemblies of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Haryana and Delhi. However, he did not win a single seat in any of these states.
In the 2020 Bihar assembly elections, the BSP contested 80 seats and won one seat with a 1.5 percent share of the vote.
In the UP panchayat elections, the BSP won just a little over 300 seats.
Trinamool Congress (TMC)
The TMC led by Mamata Banerjee wrote the story in Bengal when it defeated a very determined and aggressive BJP in the recently concluded assembly elections. The BJP used all its power to overthrow Mamata, but failed. While the BJP has made great strides in the state winning more than 70 seats, Mamata has emerged as one of the strongest regional leaders.
Mamta’s latest victory in her home state may have further added to her credentials to lead an anti-BJP front in the 2024 general election.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
The AAP led by Arvind Kejriwal is Delhi’s undefeated champion, having convincingly defeated the BJP.
The AAP won 62 of the 70 seats in the 2020 assembly elections with a 53.5 percent vote share.
This makes AAP one of the few regional bigwigs who have been able to hold their own against the BJP.
However, his performance in the Lok Sabha elections has been disappointing.
While the presence of left-wing parties in the country is on the decline, the CPM, one of the main constituents of the Left Front, led by Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala, wrote the story by defeating the Congress-led UDF to retain the can.
The CPM not only defeated Congress, but also countered an aggressive challenge from the BJP in Kerala.
The only other state where left-wing parties are part of the government is Tamil Nadu, where several center-left parties formed the Secular Progressive Alliance (SPA) under the leadership of DMK.
In West Bengal, the Left Front suffered one of its worst defeats in the 2021 assembly elections after failing to secure a single seat.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)
In the 2019 general election, TRS had contested all 17 Lok Sabha seats and was only able to win nine, two seats less than its 2014 tally.
Whereas, the BJP, which did not form any alliance in the state, won four seats on its own. The BJP’s gain in the 2019 LS elections was a setback for the TRS, as the BJP did not even oppose TRS in the 2018 assembly elections.
However, in polls of local urban bodies that concluded in April 2021, the pink party swept all municipal corporations with Congress in second place and the BJP in a distant third place.
TRS won 181 of the 248 divisions and districts in two municipal corporations and five municipalities.
Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP)
The Andhra Pradesh-based party has been on a wave of victories for the past two years.
The YSR Congress swept the 2019 general elections in Andhra, the 2019 Andhra Pradesh assembly elections, and the 2021 Andhra Pradesh urban local body elections.
The 10-year-old party was founded by YS Jaganmohan Reddy after he parted ways with the Congress party.
Strengthening its grip on the state, the YSR Congress also swept the urban local bodies in 2021 by winning in the 12 municipal corporations and 54/55 municipal councils.
Biju Janata Dal (BJD)
The Odisha-based BJD is a regional party that does not subscribe to any political ideology and has cited the development of Odisha as its main goal.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party led by Naveen Patnaik saw a significant reduction in its share of seats. He managed to win only 12 of the 21 seats in 2019. In 2014, he had won 20.
The party, however, managed to stay in power in the assembly elections that were held simultaneously.
In addition, their percentage of votes remained constant in both the general and assembly elections.
Now both the BJP and the BJD have their eyes on the panchayat polls scheduled for 2022. The BJP plans to build on its 2019 successes, while the BJD plans to use its development survey plan.