Exclusive: How Many Lok Sabha Seats Will BJP Win In South India? Congress's Revanth Reddy Says...

In the run-up to the 2024 general election, the BJP has gone all-out to expand its presence in the southern states, with a particular focus on Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy (File).

New Delhi:

Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy has predicted the Bharatiya Janata Party will struggle for traction among South Indian voters, and win fewer than 15 of the region's 130 Lok Sabha seats.

In the run-up to the 2024 general election, the BJP has gone all-out to expand its presence in the southern states, with a particular focus on Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made over a dozen visits to those states over the past few weeks in a bid to drum up support.

That support, Revanth Reddy told NDTV, is unlikely to appear.

Mr Reddy - who led his party to a statement win over the BJP and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi in last year's Assembly election - told NDTV he expects the INDIA bloc to pick up between 115 and 120 of the 130 seats - which would be a big boost in its bid to defeat the Prime Minister's party.

"Across the south there are 130 seats... BJP is going to get hardly 12-15. The rest will go with INDIA," Mr Reddy told NDTV while campaigning for the Congress' Adoor Prakash in Kerala's Attingal.

Mr Prakash is the sitting MP; he won the seat from A Sampath of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who held it after the 2009 and 2014 elections. Attingal, like most other seats in the state, has flipped between the Congress and the CPIM, with the BJP usually a distant third.

In fact, Mr Modi's party has never won a Lok Sabha seat in the state, and won just one Assembly seat in the past two state polls despite contesting nearly 180 segments in that time.

Mr Reddy believes INDIA will win all 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala. "... This time I think BJP won't even get deposits back from the seats it is contesting," the Telangana Chief Minister declared.

In the 2019 election the Congress and its allies (then under the United Progressive Alliance umbrella) completely swept the state. The BJP could only point to a slightly increased vote-share as a positive.

However, this time Kerala will see bloc's two biggest members - the ruling CPIM and Congress - failed to agree a seat-share deal and will, therefore, contest against each other and the BJP.

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Over in Telangana, Mr Reddy believes INDIA will score 14 of the state's 17 seats.

The Congress last year thumped former Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao's BRS and the BJP, winning 64 of the state's 119 seats. Allies CPIM picked up one as well. The BRS got just 39 seats - down from 88 last election - and the BJP a mere eight from 111 contested.

The BJP has declared a 'Mission South' as it tries to achieve its target of 400 seats this election.

The party needs a strong showing from the southern states, which also include Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, as well as the Union Territory of Puducherry. In the last election the party was routed in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala. It won only four in Telangana.

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The only big score was Karnataka, where it got 25 of the 28 seats

A significantly better showing is necessary for the BJP to achieve even its personal target of 370.

Mr Reddy is confident this will not happen.

On his rival's 'abki baar, 400 paar' slogan, he said, "It is very similar campaigning to what KCR did (in the 2023 election). He claimed he would get 100 seats but got 39. This is very similar to what the BJP is doing now... trying to confuse people, but the voters will teach the BJP a lesson," he told NDTV.

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