BJP’s Project 275 for 2014 – Part 1

I wrote last week briefly about the need for BJP to change its focus from trying to get 175 seats in the next election in order to forma  government to aim for 275. Many of you wrote to me asking me to elaborate on the line of thinking. I will do so in a 3-part series.

Congress has a natural advantage in government formation at the Centre even if BJP is the largest party. As long as Cong gets around 150 and BJP doesn’t get more than 175-180 (and of course Cong + BJP is greater than 272 so no Third alternative comes in), it will be a Cong govt. I think the Cong realises this, and that is what explains their actions, smugness and confidence. The BJP leadership focus only seems to be on 175 (as it was even in 2009).

The goal for the BJP needs to change from trying to win 175 to winning 250-275. This point needs to be understood and agreed on. 175 seats will not get a BJP government in 2014. (This is because Congress has a greater pool of allies to choose from, and even if they win 150, they will be in a position to form a government with support from allies.) For 275, the focus needs to be either increasing geographical footprint in places it doesn’t exist, or increasing hit rate in seats the BJP contests. The former is a 10-year exercise, and the BJP should have started on that aggressively in 1998-99. It didn’t, and now the best it can hope for on that front is some results in 2024.

So, the focus on increasing hit rate in seats. This is about creating a “sweep” or a wave. The question and focus needs to be on how that can be orchestrated that in the next elections in 2014.

Continued tomorrow.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.