What is Uncommon in Politics in South India

political parties flags

The five South Indian states Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala politics are very different from each other and political trends keeps changing now and then. It is quite challenging for the political analysts as well to understand the trends. During the election campaigning for the political leaders, Balakot air strike was the prime factor on Northern and Western India but, in South India voter preferences were different in each of these five states.

Politics in south India seem to be led by State-based political parties rather than the National parties like BJP and Congress. The national political parties have always played a secondary role while creating an alliance with the state-based political parties.

  • Karnataka has Janata Dal (Secular) leading the government in coalition with Congress
  • Tamil Nadu has two active state-based dominant parties AIADMK and DMK
  • Andhra Pradesh has Telugu Desam Party (TDP), and YSR Congress seem to set the agenda
  • Telangana has Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) as the leading party
  • Kerala is having a bipolar competition between United Democratic Front (UDF) and Left Democratic Front (LDF) parties

Political scenario in each South Indian state

Karnataka and Kerala have a similar issue with the national parties. Save Karnataka and Kerala wave seem to be driving the political plot in both the states. BJP can see the competition in Karnataka from Congress and JD(S) coalition government.

Kerala saw a significant political shift in their state after the 2014 general elections. BJP tried to dent the bipolar competition between two state-based parties UDF and LDF using the Sabarimala issue but, Congress intelligently diluted the effect. So now, BJP has a very little space left to strike something big.

Andhra Pradesh has been playing a vital role in forming the government at the central level for many years by allying with the state-based political parties like TDP or YSR Congress. At their state assembly, these two parties seem to be setting the agenda while the national parties are having not so significant impact in the state politics.

Newly formed state Telangana has TRS as the leading party while BJP and Congress are fighting with each other to take the second spot.

When it comes to Tamil Nadu politics, it seems impossible to beat the state-based political parties in elections from the national parties. The AIADMK and DMK parties are mighty and have solid roots in their state politics. BJP and Congress can only fight for the second position with an alliance.

The below image explains the whole situation and the power of state-based political parties in each of South Indian states.

vote share in south india
Image Credit: India Today

Karnataka is the only state where the national parties are in direct competition. But, Congress made a coalition government with the help of JD(S) in which JD(S) has the upper hand over Congress.


While considering the influence of dominant state-based political parties of South Indian states, the national parties are requesting votes for the Lok Sabha elections in all constituencies. Going one step ahead, Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi is contesting from Wayanad in Kerala to test his luck and to create the party’s dominance in South India. So, South India might produce different results in this 2019 general elections compared to East, West and North India

Let us wait and watch!


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