Can BJP win TN 2024 elections, if it fights alone?

People have been debating about BJP’s chances if it were to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, alone or without an alliance with AIADMK

People have been debating about BJP’s chances if it were to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, alone or without an alliance with AIADMK
People have been debating about BJP’s chances if it were to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, alone or without an alliance with AIADMK

2024 elections: Should BJP go for alliance in Tamil Nadu?

Ever since Annamalai spoke to BJP cadres recently about fighting the 2024 elections alone in TN, there have been all kinds of rumours about the rift in TN BJP, the rift between TN BJP and AIADMK, and the rift between Annamalai and Delhi BJP leadership.

People have been debating about BJP’s chances if it were to fight the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, alone or without an alliance with AIADMK (headed by Edappadi Palani Samy, EPS for short), and whether it will serve the interest of the BJP party nationally, and within TN.

The only 2 reasons for BJP to ally with AIADMK are to defeat DMK and to end the politics of Hindu hatred of DMK, on which there are overlapping voter base interests. Otherwise, BJP and AIADMK have major differences on the issues of big-ticket corruption of Dravidian politics, freebie culture & bribing of voters, appeasement of religious minorities, attitude towards North Indians & Hindi, and seeking more and more autonomy for states (characteristic of all regional parties).

Annamalai appears to think (rightly so) that if they ally with AIADMK, they would be destined to be a junior partner eternally, and should be willing to gulp insults from the rank and file of AIADMK.

Many within and outside BJP think Annamalai is making grossly wrong over-estimating his and BJP’s support base in TN. While there is some truth to it, the fact is, Annamalai is an MBA and IPS with a good understanding of what it could take for BJP to defeat DMK, or at least to become the second largest party in TN in a reasonable time.

The closest theoretical framework to assess if BJP can come to power in TN any time in the foreseeable future (or at least become the main opposition party) is provided by “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing”, a top-seller book by Al Ries and Jack Trout, the world‘s top marketing gurus. These laws are based on the authors’ extensive research and consulting experience in marketing and advertising.

Though there are differences between the marketing of brands and campaigns of political parties (which can be a topic for discussion by itself), there are many more significant commonalities.

Let’s see briefly if these laws favour BJP’s chances if it decides to fight the 2024 elections alone or in association with factions of AIADMK other than EPS’s (like Sasikala, TTV Dinakaran, and O Panneer Selvam, ie., OPS for short).

The Law of Leadership says, “it’s better to be first in a market than to be better than the competition.“ This law is heavily loaded against BJP, a ‘Johnny come lately’ political party, esp compared to the Dravidian parties.

The Law of Category says, “if you can’t be first in a category, create a new category you can be first in.” DMK, AIADMK, and almost all others parties in TN are self-proclaimed Dravidian parties. This offers a perfect opportunity for the BJP to position itself as the antithesis of Dravidian politics. But it also requires BJP to give solid enough logical and emotional reasons for people to reject Dravidian politics, esp when so many regional parties are stacked against it.

This means BJP should take a strong position against Dravidian parties, but the other AIADMK factions are Dravidian too. BJP can’t take this position if it wants to ally with these non-EPS AIADMK factions.

Since DMK and the multiple factions of AIADMK are unlikely to fight BJP together in view of the contradictions among them, the kind of vote share BJP has to get to be in the second position would be 20-25%, and to be in the top position, it would be 30-35%. This is not going to be easy at all, given as we will see. This can be in alliance with parties with whom they have no ideological differences.

The Law of Perception says, “Marketing is a battle of perceptions.” The Law of the Mind says, “it’s not enough to be the best, but you should be perceived as the best.” BJP is perceived as a North Indian, Hindi-focused party. It’s not going to be easy to overcome this perception, unless, at the very least, BJP is willing to make major compromises on their perceived national/ link language policy.

The Law of Focus and The Law of Exclusivity say, “the most powerful concept in marketing is owning an exclusive word in the prospect’s mind.” BJP needs to decide on the exclusive word/ phrase it wants to own in the minds of TN voters, which should not conflict with its policy above the Deccans. Non-corrupt or anti-corruption tag is neither enough, nor will it be believed.

The Law of Duality, the Law of Division, and the Law of the Opposite say, “in the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race.” So, if BJP becomes the third force, it should soon find a way to occupy the second slot, the opposite of Dravidian politics. This is possible only if BJP doesn’t align with any Dravidian party; allying with parties like Tamil Maanila Congress should be fine.

The Law of Perspective and The Law of Acceleration say, “Marketing effects take place over an extended period. Successful programs are not built on fads, but on trends.” So, BJP should be ready to be in this battle for the long haul, not expect immediate results.

The Law of Sacrifice says, “you have to give up something to get something”; eg., not allying with any of the AIADMK factions sacrifices a large vote share, but will help BJP position itself as the non-Dravidian, non-corrupt party that will transform TN politics, in the long term, not in the immediate term.

The Law of Candor says, “when you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive”; e.g., if BJP says it made a mistake allying with the Dravidian parties so far, and now wishes to stand corrected, this will help strengthen its position, esp under the new Annamalai leadership, and hope to become the alternative to Dravidian politics.

The Law of Unpredictability says, “unless you write your competitors’ marketing plans, you can’t predict the future.” So, the success of any strategy the BJP wishes to follow can’t be 100% guaranteed for success. Success will depend on how good the perception of the position is for the TN electorate, and how well TN BJP handles it. The Law of Failure says, “failure if it happens, is to be expected and accepted.”

The Law of Hype says, “the situation is often the opposite of how it appears in the press.” This can be interpreted to mean all the present positive media coverage, the groundswell of crowds at Annamalai’s meetings may not translate into votes.

The Law of Resources says, “without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground.” Typically a new challenger would need to pump in at least 3 times the resources put in by the market leader. This may not be difficult for BJP if it fights for long-term interest.

The downside of this position are: Many of the poor among the electorate may vote for DMK and AIADMK without even applying their minds as these parties would give them election eve sops including cash, the sheer inertia of the electorate (they may not vote for any party unless they it as clearly within striking distance of coming to power), and some of the top and middle-level functionaries and some grassroots level workers, esp those who are not in the party for ideological reasons, may leave the party as they may not see any immediate personal benefits from the party.

The upsides are: The party can have long-term leaders like Annamalai (who is himself a great find), and BJP can take advantage of the present rare opportunity when the imposing political figures like Kalaignar Karunanidhi and Selvi Jayalalithaa have got out of the scene recently, creating a political vacuum.

TN BJP is at the crosswords. TN can be a lab to experiment with, as there’s not much to lose and everything to gain. BJP Parliamentary party, which will decide about alliances, should consider whether it is willing to invest in TN politics and leaders like Annamalai for the long term, or whether it wants to maximize LS seats soon and live from election to election in TN.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

PGurus is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with all the latest news and views

For all the latest updates, download PGurus App.

An Engineer-entrepreneur and Africa Business Consultant, Ganesan has many suggestions for the Government and sees the need for the Govt to tap the ideas of its people to perform to its potential.


  1. It will be huge mistake to partner with AIDMK. In the short time it might be of some help, it will destroy the image of BJP and destroy any chances of becoming a major party in the future. If fought alone, if not this time, next time BJP will for sure get the majority.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here