29 July, 2021

South May Dump Its Son

Strong regional aspirations strengthen the Third Force

South May Dump Its Son
THE image of the South as a Congress stronghold is fast crumbling. Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala have traditionally been the most dependable vote catchment areas for the Congress but this time the party may find a decidedly lesser number of its candidates being sent to the Lok Sabha from these states. While critics have been talking of a tide against the party in the South, Congress leaders themselves doubt if their party will succeed in coming anywhere close to its 1991 tally of 103 of the 130 Lok Sabha seats in the region. As for those looking for a third alternative to the Congress and the BJP, the southern states will have a very crucial role to play in forming the government at the Centre.

As campaigning moves into the home stretch, Congress hopes are pinned on Andhra Pradesh and, to a far lesser extent, on Kerala. But even in both these states, there is no perceptible wave in favour of the party. In Andhra, it hopes to capitalise on the division of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) votes between the Chandrababu Naidu and Lakshmi Parvathi factions. And then,...

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