5 regional parties stare at existential crisis


In the assembly elections, BJD managed to win 51 of 147 seats with a 5 percentage points drop in its vote share to 40.22 per cent…reports Asian Lite News

As BJP went into a huddle with TDP and JD(U) to stitch an alliance on Wednesday, and Congress — backed by SP and TMC — looked all set to mount a serious challenge to the coalition, the regional parties suddenly found themselves in the spotlight.

But not all are that lucky.

At least five regional parties, which gave chief ministers and sent scores of MPs to the Parliament, drew a blank this time and were staring at an existential crisis.

For the first time since the party was founded in 1997, Biju Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) drew a blank in Lok Sabha elections. In assembly elections, the results of which were also declared on Tuesday, the party failed to reach the majority mark for the first time since 2009.

Patnaik, who had been Odisha’s chief minister for over 24 years, now has to step aside and let a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader take oath for the top post.

In Lok Sabha elections, BJD’s vote share dropped from 43.32 per cent in 2019 to 37.53 per cent but the number of seats it won fell from 12 out of 21 to zero this year.

In the assembly elections, BJD managed to win 51 of 147 seats with a 5 percentage points drop in its vote share to 40.22 per cent.

This is its worst performance to date in both elections.   

After Patnaik resigned as the CM on Wednesday, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh took to X and called it BJP’s B-team. He said that BJD’s performance was due to the trust it put in “Hum Do”.

“Over the past ten years, the BJD was the B-team of the BJP in Parliament. It supported Mr. Modi on every issue,” he said. “From B-teams, they have become the has-been teams. This is what happens to regional parties who place their trust in the ‘Hum Do’, who have suffered a humiliating moral and political defeat yesterday.”

BJD was among the regional parties which once held sway over the voters but failed to secure even one seat this year.

In the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, a similar story was unfolding for Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

Once considered to be the voice of Dalits, the party seems to have lost its grip on the state.

The party failed to open its account in the elections and lost over 10 percentage points of vote share to 9.39 per cent. In 2019, it had secured 10 seats in Lok Sabha with a vote share of 19.42 per cent, but it was fighting in a pre-poll alliance with the SP. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Mayawati blamed the Muslims for her party’s defeat and said that the party would give them a chance in the elections “after a lot of thought so that the party does not suffer a huge loss in the future like this time”.

Mayawati has also been called the BJP’s B-team in the past. However, she has denied the claims each time.

Up north in Haryana, the relatively younger Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) also put up a dismal show losing all 10 seats in the state.

On most seats, it had to forgo its deposit. Until March this year, it was a part of the BJP-led coalition that ruled Haryana.

It had failed to win a seat in the 2019 elections as well but this year, its vote share has shrunk from 4.9 per cent to a dismal 0.87 per cent.

Down south, in Telangana, K Chandrashekar Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi also failed to open its account. The fall was gradual. It had won 11 seats in 2014, nine in 2019, and zero in 2024. 

KCR had faced a similar fate in December last year when his party was ousted in the assembly elections by the Congress party for the first time since the state came into existence in 2014.

Further south in Tamil Nadu, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) — founded by the political heavyweight MG Ramachandran and later groomed by J Jayalalithaa – also failed to make a mark.

In the first election it was fighting without the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), AIADMK lost all 32 seats it contested in Tamil Nadu.

Its alliance partners Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and the Puthiya Thamizhagam (PT), also failed to win any of the remaining seven seats in the state.

Its performance in the 2019 elections, when it had won one seat, had also signalled that it was reducing in stature. It was starkly different from the 37 seats the party won in the 2014 General Elections.

Changes in Rajya Sabha

The election results of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh state elections would also have a bearing on the membership of the Rajya Sabha. Andhra Pradesh has 11 members in the Upper House, all of which currently come from the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

On Tuesday, TDP swept the elections. After Naidu has announced his support for the BJP, this could mean more strength for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Rajya Sabha.

In ten seats of Odisha too, the BJP could have the most members after winning the state elections. This could take the NDA well ahead of the majority mark of 123. Currently, it has 120 members in the Upper House.

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