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Lok Sabha: Narendra Modi's path to 'abki baar 400 paar' target runs through south and east India

Lok Sabha: Narendra Modi's path to 'abki baar 400 paar' target runs through south and east India


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has predicted his Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition could win three out of four parliamentary seats as it tours the country to charm voters. His party's analysts and election strategists say the task is not entirely impossible, but it will likely be difficult.
Modi is targeting the ruling coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, or NDA, which will surpass 400 seats out of 543 in the lower house of parliament after votes are counted on June 4.
To achieve this, he will need to replicate the NDA's stellar performance in north India in the 2019 elections, win more seats in the south which has so far proven immune to his charm, and capture of power in the west and east of the country.
The NDA won 352 seats last time and to cross 400, it needs 48 more seats, said Pradeep Gupta, chairman of polling firm Axis My India. It all depends on how the BJP and NDA fare in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in southern India.

  • All
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Maharashtra
  • Tamilnadu
  • West Bengal
  • Bihar
  • Karnataka
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Telangana
  • Kerala
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Rajasthan
  • Delhi
  • Other States


The last time anyone won such a landslide victory was in 1984, when the Indian National Congress won 404 seats after a wave of sympathy swept the country following the assassination of the First Minister of the time, Indira Gandhis.
Winning that many seats would give Modis' alliance a majority of more than two-thirds in the lower house of Parliament. The ruling coalition would need the support of two-thirds of both the upper and lower houses of Parliament to amend the constitution.
Modi is supported by several factors that could help him achieve his seat goal. India is one of the fastest growing major economies, a temple where a centuries-old mosque once stood is now open, bolstering the BJP's Hindu nationalist push and the opposition has been hit by defections and the arrests of some of its leaders.
That doesn't mean it's a done deal, though. Indian voters are fickle and anti-incumbency sentiment is strong. Several parties also remain dominant in their regional strongholds.

Here are the opportunities and challenges Modi faces in his quest to achieve his lofty goals:

Foray into the south

The BJP and its allies can achieve Modis' target if they can significantly increase their tally of 130 seats in southern states, according to polling firm Axis My India. The NDA currently holds 31 seats in these regions.

The BJP will have to innovate in south India, said Neelanjan Sircar, a senior fellow at the Delhi-based Center for Policy Research. Modi will have to do well in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to get between 370 and 400 seats in total, he added.

It's easier said than done. The BJP has traditionally had less influence in the south, where voters prefer regional parties that promote local languages ​​rather than Hindi, and where the ruling party's message of Hindu nationalism does not resonate much. Political leaders also say they are not getting their fair share of tax revenue from federal coffers.

Modi, who is the face of the BJP campaign and even the star of the party's manifesto, is making a strong pitch to skeptical voters. He has visited southern states nearly a dozen times in the past six months and even raised a decades-old diplomatic problem, accusing the opposition of ceding an island to neighboring Sri Lanka.

Battle of Maharashtra

The BJP's alliance with a party from western India's richest state, Maharashtra, brought 41 of 48 federal lawmakers to Modi in 2019. He also won a majority in the Assembly the state. But the deal broke down due to differences over the formation of the state government and, in the end, the Shiv Sena cobbled together a coalition with the opposition and other smaller groups.

But since then, things have been looking up for the BJP. In 2022, the Shiv Sena split into two, with one faction siding with the BJP, leading to the resignation of the chief minister and the takeover of the state government by a new coalition dominated by the BJP.

An internal BJP survey showed the party would win parliamentary seats currently held by the rival opposition-backed Shiv Sena faction, according to senior party officials who asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to speak about electoral strategy. The BJP will make progress with its strong campaign network on the ground, they added.

The BJP did not respond to requests for comment.

Advancement towards the East

The party is seeing its number of parliamentary seats increase significantly in the east, particularly in the states of West Bengal and Odisha. Internal assessments show that the BJP could win half of West Bengal's 42 parliamentary seats due to negative media coverage of law and order in the state, the sources said. In 2019, the BJP won 18 seats.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banarjee, however, remains an important force on the ground. Her party, the All India Trinamool Congress, has been in power in the state since 2011. Despite strong pressure from the BJP, it won more seats in the 2021 national elections than in the previous one in 2016.

In another eastern state, Odisha, the BJP hopes to win nearly two-thirds of the 21 seats, up from a third in 2019, BJP officials said, as voters may hope for a change from the regional Biju Janata Party Dal, in power for more than two years. decades.

The main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, has expressed confidence and optimism about our prospects, especially after the first phase of India's six-week elections which began on April 19. The BJP will not come close to its target, Pawan said. Khera, party spokesperson, during a telephone conversation. He added that the issues of economic inequality, unemployment and farmers' distress that the Congress was campaigning on were resonating with voters.

Not the heart of the country

Modis' coalition will need to maintain its 2019 victory rate of 92% of the 257 seats in the Hindi-speaking heartland, which includes most of central and northern India. His party hopes to do better in Uttar Pradesh, which sends the largest number of lawmakers to the country's parliament, the people said. It won 64 seats in the last elections.

The BJP's support in the state assembly elections has been strong, although that does not mean voters will follow the same path in national polls. The party extended its hold on Uttar Pradesh for a second term in 2022, the first time any party has done so in four decades. He continued to retain power in Madhya Pradesh and took control of the Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh assemblies in December thanks to Modi's rule, government aid and economic growth.

However, retaining all seats in national elections could prove difficult.

Loss of some seats cannot be ruled out, Axis My Indias Gupta said. A decade in power leads to fatigue and opposition to power.




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