The Battle for 2024 (Part 3)


If 65-70% of the electors are voting, a party/candidate will need 40-45% of those voting to be certain of victory. So, for the BJP, its core base combined with the floaters can put it on a path to victory. That is why creating the feeling that the BJP is the inevitable winner is very important to ensure a high success rate in its strong states. The path to victory is narrow. It needs to win 250+ in the 350-odd seats in these states. Even as the party is working to expand its footprint nationally, converting vote share to seats will take time.

So, the game plan for the BJP is straightforward:

  • Turnout the core base
  • Persuade the floaters
  • Maximise divisions among the non-BJP vote to lower the bar for victory

The first two require a good ground game to get the vote out and an air game to create the feeling that the BJP is the only party that is likely to win. Much of the focus in an election is focused on the air game, but a good ground operation is also important. The BJP tends to do much better than the other parties on both counts.

For the non-BJP parties, the challenge is much bigger. The Congress is not seen as a viable challenger. So even as it has a (diminishing) core base, that is not good enough to take it past the post to win. Any alternative to the Congress (as the AAP is attempting to do) will take time to emerge. In fact, it is possible in the near-term that the Congress and AAP both fight for the non-BJP vote and make the task of the BJP even easier.

For regional parties who have relied largely on caste calculus, it is not going to be easy. The SP has probably maxed out on what it can get in Uttar Pradesh, and unless the BSP vote swings towards it, winning enough seats to dent the BJP will not be easy. At this point, the regional parties remain perhaps the only formidable challenge for the BJP unless something dramatically changes in the mass perception towards the Congress. The best hope is still the 1:1 strategy – where the BJP is made to fight a single united Opposition candidate to ensure the non-BJP vote is not divided. This can make BJP’s task a bit harder, and if there is general distress, there could be an anti-BJP vote. But given the politics of faith and fear, and very little correlation between economic sentiment and voting behaviour, it is BJP’s game to lose.

Taken together, it does look like 2024 can be another walkover for the BJP. Which brings us to the third question. Is there any other possibility for a challenge to the BJP?

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.