Why did BJP lose 2004 Lok Sabha Elections despite India Shining?

BJP achieved majority on its own in Lok Sabha in May 2014 bagging 282 seats, proving most of the political pundits wrong. BJP led NDA won 336 seats. While BJP fared well across all the regions, its performance in South India still leaves a lot to be desired. The party won 21 seats (7.5% of its total seats) in S. India (mainly 17 in Karnataka, 2 in Andhra and 1 each in Tamil Nadu and ree errrr). Its alliance partners won 18 seats (mainly Telugu Desam Party 16).

However, this was the best ever performance of BJP in Southern part of India and there are a number of things to cheer about. BJP’s strike rate improved considerably in 2014, it won 21/66 seats contested whereas it had won only 19/106 seats contested in 2009. Its vote share in all states increased substantially.  

While it managed to win 1 seat in Tamil Nadu despite Amma wave, it was again unlucky to open its accounttwqqewteqw in Kerala. Party has also been traditionally strong in Karnataka and Yeddyurappa’s return ensured it bagged majority of the seats.

In Andhra, the party was in a quandary as to align with whom, TDP or TRS, before the elections, as alliance with one would ensure party was routed in the other state. It went along with its long-time ally Naidu’s TDP and paid the price in Telangana. It could have won more there on a stand-alone basis, but that’s part and parcel of politics.

Not many would remember, that NDA got majority in 1998 and 1999 and Vajpayee was able to form the government on account of terrific performance in South India. 58 out of 254 seats of NDA came from South India in 1998, the corresponding number for 1999 was 77 / 270. This was possible through deftly crafted alliances in Tamil Nadu and Andhra. In 1998 BJP allied with Amma’s AIADMK and host of smaller Dravidian parties winning 29 / 39 seats. Things soured between BJP and AIADMK which led to the downfall of the Vajpayee govt. within 13 months. 

In 1999, BJP changed its alliance partner in Tamil Nadu, it now had DMK on its side, while it continued with its partnership with TDP in Andhra. NDA swept Andhra (36/42) and Tamil Nadu (31/39) and this performance propelled it to form govt. at the center.

In 2004, BJP dumped DMK and its small Dravidian partners for AIADMK. The same AIADMK which led to the downfall of the  13 month govt. of Vajpayee in 1998 as well as TDP. DMK joined Congress led UPA. The result, UPA swept Tamil Nadu winning 35/39 seats, NDA drew a blank. NDA won 186 seats and UPA 218 seats overall. If BJP had remained with DMK, it could may well have swept Tamil Nadu and bagged these 35 seats. Then NDA would have got 221 seats and UPA 183 seats. Allies would have flocked to BJP led NDA and it would have been able to form the govt. This was one of the main reasons for loss of Vajpayee’s otherwise popular government. 

BJP created a situation which forced DMK to leave NDA because it’s ideologue RSS felt (and it still feels) that AIADMK was ideologically more closer to BJP. This will be marked as one of the biggest blunders of RSS / BJP in political history. 

Proponents of the divorce may argue that it was for BJP’s good that DMK resigned from NDA else it’s ministers would have committed huge scams in NDA govt. But with Vajpayee at the helm this would have been difficult to do. 

This may be one of the top kept secrets of RSS machinery failure under the carpet. RSS supporters would argue that its efforts have led to many wins for BJP, so sometimes things may go wrong. I won’t disagree with them. But it’s also amply clear that BJP lost 2004 despite India Shining due to tactical mistake of RSS. 

Link of this article published in Oye Times (Canada)


One comment

  1. tamilnadu and andhra- two reason and pathetic performance in up and bihar. other wise bjp lost only 44 seats – 182 to 138 , bjp allies lost 66 seats- also vajpei ji was old that time 79 years old not popular to young voters and even in wb mamata was struggling that time.


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