SC stamps on Article 370, Ram Temple stir 2024 poll pot

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The BJP’s boosters from the Article 370 verdict, as well as the January 22 inauguration of the Ram Temple, may potentially blunt the Opposition bid to force a one-on-one contest against the saffron outfit on the twin planks of social justice through the demands for the caste census and guarantee-based welfare schemes.    

Amit Shah, Union Minister for Home Affairs (Image credit X @AmitShah)

Amit Shah, Union Minister for Home Affairs

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, December 12: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s twin electoral legs of nationalism and Hindutva seem steeled for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Supreme Court’s endorsement of the abrogation of Article 370 may potentially amplify the BJP’s nationalism narrative at a time when the saffron outfit is faced with the challenge of the Opposition outfits strategizing on one-on-one contests.

Columnist Pratap Bhanu Mehta in an article in The Indian Express opined that “the judgment of the Supreme Court, upholding the abrogation of Article 370, is a massive legal victory of the Narendra Modi government’s approach to Jammu and Kashmir…” Within the BJP, the buzz is about estimating an additional percentage of votes that will accrue to the saffron outfit in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections after the apex court verdict.

“Our initial estimate suggests that the BJP may be gaining 0.75 to three per cent additional votes in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The Supreme Court verdict will have an electrifying effect in the elections next year,” said Sumeet Bhasin, head of the BJP-linked think-tank, the Public Policy Research Centre.

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah flexed the BJP’s political muscle built around nationalism during debate on amending bills on Jammu and Kashmir in Parliament in signs of the saffron outfit warming up to cash in on the Article 370 poll plank. Manoj Jha of the Rashtriya Janata Dal faced the full blow of Shah in the Rajya Sabha yesterday when his context that none from Jammu and Kashmir was in the House as the BJP’s muscular face pounced him to say that “Kashmir was of everyone, from Gujarat to Northeast and Srinagar to Kanyakumari”. “Desh ke ek ek inch ke liye hum ladenge (we will fight for each inch of the country),” Shah said in another political punch he raised in the Rajya Sabha.

Election strategist Prashant Kishor in his post-poll analysis of the recently held Assembly elections in five states had argued that the BJP was on an electoral upswing on the basis of four reasons — nationalism, Hindutva, Labarthi (beneficiaries of schemes), and organizational strength. With the Supreme Court verdict set to be extensively exploited by the BJP in the next few months, the BJP is seen gaining strength for its vote-catching planks.  

The BJP’s boosters from the Article 370 verdict, as well as the January 22 inauguration of the Ram Temple, may potentially blunt the Opposition bid to force a one-on-one contest against the saffron outfit on the twin planks of social justice through the demands for the caste census and guarantee-based welfare schemes.    

While the BJP camp is full of euphoria over victory in three Hindi heartland states, the party leaders are cautious of the fact that the real challenge lies with the regional parties and the southern states, and success there is essential to repeat the 300 plus Lok Sabha seats ambition of the saffron outfit.

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