Speed bumps stare at Kerala BJP as it plans to piggyback on PM's visits

National |  IANS  | Published :

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 20 (IANS) The New Year dawned in Kerala with Prime Minister Narendra Modi spending three days in the state in a matter of two weeks, leading to speculation that the Kerala BJP would see one of its members sitting in the new Lok Sabha when it is constituted in a few months from now.

BJP veteran and former Union Minister Prakash Javadekar who is incharge of the Kerala unit of the party appears confident that things will change for the better for the BJP in the state.

He has predicted that not only will Modi win a third term at the Centre, in Kerala also the BJP will do well.

“Changes are happening in Kerala too as there are many who have decided to change their attitude towards the BJP,” said Javadekar.

He said unlike the Left Government which looks at the political leanings of the beneficiary, Modi doesn’t look at caste, creed or religion. His only agenda is overall development and that’s already happening in Kerala where the BJP doesn’t have any MLA or MP.

Notwithstanding Javadekar’s optimism, traditionally the saffron party has not done well in Kerala, if data from the previous elections on the 20 Lok Sabha seats and 140 Assembly seats, is anything to go by.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls the Kerala BJP-led NDA finished a distant third and managed a mere 15.64 per cent vote share. While the UDF won 19 seats securing a vote share of 47.48 per cent, the then ruling Left Front got 36.29 per cent votes and one seat.

Similarly they cut a sorry figure when in the 2021 Assembly polls in Kerala, the BJP’s vote share went down by 2.60 per cent to reach 12.36 per cent as compared to the 2016 Assembly polls and the BJP lost the only sitting seat.

However, Javadekar who just finished a tour of north Kerala appeared to be bubbling with enthusiasm after going around parts of Kozhikode District due to the tremendous response he got from the people, including from traditional CPI(M) voters.

According to him, things look bright for the BJP and there will be huge surprises this time.

However, what Javadekar is forgetting is that in Kerala the minority communities -- Muslims 26 per cent and Christians 18 per cent -- together account for 44 per cent of the 3.30 crore population of the state. This was a major factor working against the BJP in the state.

Adding to this is the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict and the political stand taken by both the traditional rivals in Kerala. The BJP has only one stand and it is total fight against all forms of terrorism.

The recent lunch given by Modi to Christian leaders is being seen by the BJP as a positive factor as in a few constituencies especially at Trissur and Thiruvananthapuram, the Church plays a crucial factor.

This is being keenly watched, even though the Church leaders have said that no one needs to burn the midnight oil over the luncheon meeting.

With Modi expected to arrive again in the coming weeks to Kerala, the state BJP leadership appears to be buoyant, but it remains to be seen if the state unit, known for its deep-rooted factionalism, will be able to put up a united fight to see the Lotus bloom in Kerala.

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