Dr AK Patel (right) and Chandupatla Janga Reddy were the only 2 winners for the BJP in 1984 general elections
As BJP and its supporters celebrate its spectacular win in the 2019 general elections under PM Modi’s leadership, it is worthwhile to recall the party’s journey from a mere 2 seats in 1984 to 303 today. The journey has been anything but easy. The party has seen ups and downs, ridiculed and written-off at times, called unimaginable names, with national and international forces working against its rise. However, the party has seen all through this and has emerged victorious once again.
1984 was a tumultous year for India. Assassination of Indira Gandhi saw the ruling party unleash a reign of terror in the entire country, especially in Delhi and Punjab. Hundreds of Sikhs were killed, thousands wounded. Country was on a brink when the process was voting was held immediately in December after Indira Gandhi was assassinated in October and anti-Sikh pogrom in November. As expected the sympathy wave took Congress to 404 seats and installed Rajiv Gandhi as the PM. TDP was the second largest party with 30 seats. It was in such an environment of hate and intimidation that the BJP made its entry into the Lok Sabha with just 2 seats. The unforgettable duo of the BJP who made the unthinkable come true were Dr AK Patel and Chandupatla Janga Reddy.
Dr AK Patel had won from Mehsana in Gujarat and Chandupatla Janga Reddy registered his victory from Hanamkonda in Andhra Pradesh. Dr Patel, a Doctor by profession, had represented BJP from the Vijapur seat in the Gujarat Assembly for 2 terms from 1975 to 84. He passed MBBS from BJ Medical College in Ahmedabad and practiced medicine in Vijapur District of Mehsana for many years helping the local communities. In 1960’s he was a pioneer in starting the Pilvai college to promote structured schooling in the area. After his win in 1984 for the Lok Sabha, he continued his winning streak till 1998. Later he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from 2000 to 2006. Dr Patel also served as Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers in Vajpayee’s government in 1998.
An active Karyakarta of the RSS, Chandupatla Janga Reddy was a teacher, Agriculturist, and a Social Worker who took active part in satyagrahas and protests. He was an active member of the AP Students Union in the 1950’s and was a Executive member of the AP Teachers Union later. He had protested against the killings in Mallapuram in Kerala. He was also imprisoned by Indira Gandhi during emergency period under MISA. He had participated in the Satyagraha in Delhi against deployment of Army in Golden Temple in 1984. Between 1967 and 84, Chandupatla Reddy was a member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly representing the BJP.
It is because of the initial efforts of stalwarts like Dr Patel and Chandupatla Reddy, the BJP engine had pulled through the thick and thin of electoral politics. Today, as the party celebrates 303 seats, everyone in its cadre should recall the sacrifices and efforts of those who gave the pioneering push in national politics.