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BJP’s Strategy of Inducting Leaders from Other Parties Helps Expand Influence in South India

Last week, the BJP inducted three former Congress leaders from different states in South India, namely Kiran Kumar Reddy, Anil K Antony, and C R Kesavan. Although they are not major political leaders, their defection to the BJP generated a buzz and shifted the focus away from the ongoing desertions in Karnataka, highlighting the Congress’s decline in the South. The three leaders had already resigned from the Congress, and their decision to join the BJP may have been motivated by personal benefits.

The BJP welcomed the three leaders with fanfare, as the party struggles in Karnataka due to the series of defections. The desertions emphasize the apparent irrelevance of the Congress and the BJP’s rising clout in the region, especially before the upcoming elections in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Karnataka. The fact that even Congress leaders are finding the BJP attractive in the South indicates the BJP’s expanding influence.

Under the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah era, the BJP has shed its reservations about bringing in leaders from outside the party. It has welcomed several prominent figures with fame and name to join its ranks. This strategy is part of the BJP’s efforts to extend its reach beyond the Hindi heartland where it was primarily associated. In October 2014, shortly after the BJP came to power, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat invoked numerous national heroes from various regions and groups outside its familiar pantheon of idols in his Vijayadashami address. The Sangh Parivar’s changing stance and forthcoming programs were reflected in his speech.

The Sangh has been appropriating lesser-known heroes from various regions and groups, while the BJP has simultaneously inducted political figures from different parties. The BJP’s strategy is aimed at expanding its influence across the country and consolidating its hold on the political landscape. The defection of the three Congress leaders is just one example of the BJP’s efforts to expand its reach and consolidate its position in the South.

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