Navigating Electoral Dynamics: BJP’s Challenge in Balancing Turncoats and Party Cadres

There are media speculations and proposals that Indian National Congress (INC) leaders may be quitting the grand old party to seek safer political pastures in the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP). According to sources in the press, Navjot Singh Siddhu, Nakulnath, the son of senior Congress leader Kamalnath, Congress Spokesperson Manish Tiwari, and Congress MLA Vijayadharani from Tamil Nadu, among others, are in talks with the Saffron party’s senior leadership ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The BJP’s election prospects have grown stronger since the inauguration of the Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhyadham, a spiritual holy town. The party’s unprecedented support across the country has compelled several Congress leaders to join the Saffron Party in order to remain relevant. The high-profile induction of former Congress politician and ex-Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has improved the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) hopes in the state. Ashok Chavan filed his nomination for Rajya Sabha from the BJP, citing the Congress party’s lack of electoral preparation as the reason for his withdrawal.

The massive wave of support for the BJP from opposition leaders across the country demonstrates Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overwhelming popularity, as he is expected to return to power for the third time with a goal of achieving 400 Parliamentary seats in the upcoming general election. The BJP hopes to expand its footprint and reach across the political landscape by inducting turncoat leaders and increasing poll percentage votes from 37.4% in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections.

This is a historical fact: whenever Congress has lost three consecutive elections, it has never returned to power by winning elections. The party is in the midst of an existential crisis, with party supremo Sonia Gandhi lately deciding to run for Rajya Sabha in Rajasthan, fearing defeat. The rumours of a leadership feud between siblings Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra have harmed the party’s poll prospects. The Saffron party is going to great lengths to destroy the Congress party by inviting politicians with significant support in their constituency.

While the recruitment of turncoats will help the Saffron party win elections, the leadership should consider the impact on the party’s devoted leaders and cadres, who may feel excluded and neglected. The manner in which defectors are rewarded with plum jobs has sparked resentment, which may lead to a future revolution against the party’s leadership. The inclusion of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has prompted BJP Vice President Madhav Bhandari’s son, Chinmay, to voice his discontent with his father’s 50 years of organizational work being disregarded and not treated as he deserves. Many old guards in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have raised reservations about surrendering doctrine and ideals for electoral gain. The inclusion of Ajit Pawar in the coalition has sparked widespread resentment inside the party.

In order to win elections and remain in power, the party’s central leadership must strike a delicate balance. They should invite opposition leaders in areas where the party lacks a strong organizational and cadre presence. The party will benefit from bringing opposition leaders from states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Punjab, where they have a negligible representation. Hemant Biswa Sarma’s entry into the BJP in 2015 aided the Saffron party’s victory over the Congress in the northeast.The chief architect of the BJP’s win was appointed Chief Minister of Assam in 2021. His organizational skill allows him to command unwavering allegiance from his fans.

The BJP, the world’s largest party with over 200 million members, will have to address the concerns of committed leaders as well as turncoats from opposition leaders in order to enhance the party’s organizational network in the long run and reap the benefits of electoral victory. The enormous popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept dissent under control. However, when the successor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi is debated, the prospects of factionalism may increase, affecting the stability of the government and party. The party must take the voices of dissatisfaction from long-serving leaders seriously and implement course correction measures before they evolve into a full-fledged crisis in the future.

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