BJP has a lot of rethinking to do after election losses

The rather curious silence on the part of the government regarding Manipur might have also led to the BJP losing in the state as well as suffering a decline in the overall seat share in the Northeast. 

Bishaldeep Kakati Jun 14, 2024
Representational Photo

On June 4, 2024, the results of the 18th Lok Sabha (parliamentary) elections were declared in India. The results exhibited an outcome that surprised many in India and abroad. The results were a symbolic representation of India’s strong democratic base and the fact that the power of the people is above any kind of government. However, it won’t be wrong to state that the results came as a shock and disappointment to the BJP leaders, even though the BJP and its allies were all in readiness to form the government. To understand this situation one has to look back and study events and incidents that had happened before the declaration of the results.

Back in 2014, when the 'Modi wave’ was at its peak, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government won 282 seats, while its National Democratic Alliance won a total of 336 seats, which led to Modi becoming the Prime Minister of India for the first time. In the 2019 elections, the citizens of India further strengthened their trust in the Modi-led government when the BJP alone won 303 seats, while the NDA alliance won 353 seats. This led to      Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister of India for the second term. The massive victories in 2014 and 2019 led the Modi government to set a narrative that it was going to cross the ‘400-mark’ seat count in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This particular narrative as well as the exit poll results strengthen the  belief that the BJP would not only win by a big margin but would form the government again without even needing to depend on allies like its first two terms. But the results brought a different scenario altogether that came as a shock to the BJP, although Modi did manage to become the Prime Minister of India again with the help of non-BJP allies, thereby becoming the second person after Pandit Nehru to become the prime minister for three consecutive terms.

BJP needs a strategy review

The 2024 election results saw a massive decline in the seat share of the BJP and its allies as the BJP managed to win 240 seats only and the NDA won 292 seats. A critical analysis brings a few noteworthy reasons that the BJP has to take care of if it wants to improve its overall win percentage in the upcoming elections, which include its big-brother patronizing attitude, dependence on one particular person i.e. the Prime Minister himself, and most importantly underestimating its opposition.

The big margin wins for the BJP in 2014 and 2019 meant that they could form the government with a clear majority without being dependent on its allies. This resulted in the BJP considering itself to be all too powerful with little or no respect for its allies. If one considers the NDA that contested the 2024 elections, the BJP only had two major allies along with it, i.e. JD (U) and Telegu Desam Party although in total it had more than 20 parties. However, post 2019, if one carefully analyses, one would notice that BJP slowly parted ways from the regional parties, which can be regarded as one of the major causes behind the decline in the NDA's total number of seats. 

For instance, in the state of Maharashtra, the BJP and its allies won 17 seats, which is less than half the number of seats it had won in the 2019 elections. Back in 2019, the BJP’s ally Shiv Sena (undivided) ensured that the tally of seats was above 40 then. However, with the Shiv Sena break-up involving the Eknath Shinde and Uddhav Thackeray factions, the Shiv Sena (UBT) went into alliance with the INDIA group. Further, because of the BJP’s ‘big brother’ kind of attitude it also lost allies like Shiromani Akali Dal as well as AIADMK, which did affect the 2024 elections.

BJP must address real issues

Another major jolt that came for the BJP elections was the sharp drop in its seat share in Uttar Pradesh. It is often said that the party that wins Uttar Pradesh is likely to forms the government at the Centre. In 2014 and 2019, BJP won 71 and 62 seats in Uttar Pradesh respectively, but the tables were turned completely in 2024. The BJP managed to win only 33 seats out of the 80 seats. Interestingly it also lost in the constituency of Faizabad, the same constituency where Ram Mandir was recently established in Ayodhya. Many thought that the construction of Ram Mandir might be a political game-changer for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh, but it proved to be the opposite. The UP results suggest that the BJP needs to address the real issues of the people and just not concentrate on the religious sentiments of only one section of people. Former minister Smriti Irani’s loss in Amethi also meant Congress reclaiming the politically important seat of Amethi.

Conspicuously, in Rajasthan, where recently the BJP-led state government was formed, the BJP could manage only 14 seats out of the 25, whereas in 2019 it had won 24 out of 25 seats. 

Furthermore, the reduction in seat count can also be attributed to certain policies of the BJP that the Indian people at large may not have approved. As such the BJP still needs to reconsider certain policies like the Uniform Civil Code and focus more on issues like unemployment and increase in prices of daily necessities while ensuring that the sentiments of people of every caste, creed and religion are not hurt. Moreover, the rather curious silence on the part of the government regarding Manipur might have also led to the BJP losing in the state as well as suffering a decline in the overall seat share in the Northeast.

The BJP needs to work on all these issues and not repeat the mistake of considering its opponents pushovers as the major opposition party, the Congress, has made a significant jump in its seat count by increasing its tally from 52 in 2019 to 99 in 2024.

(The author is an advocate, Gauhati High Court. Views are personal. He can be contacted at

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