BJP’s growing momentum in Kerala makes Congress, Left jittery | assembly-elections | Hindustan Times
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BJP’s growing momentum in Kerala makes Congress, Left jittery

The BJP’s presence in the electoral battle in Kerala has triggered tough competition in at least 25 constituencies in the state for the May 16 assembly polls—the sixth and final phase of the state assembly polls.

Kerala 2016 Updated: May 04, 2016 12:49 IST
Ramesh Babu
BJP’s steady growth is worrying both Cong-led UDF and CPI(M)- backed LDF, who are blaming each other for its surge.
BJP’s steady growth is worrying both Cong-led UDF and CPI(M)- backed LDF, who are blaming each other for its surge. (HT File)

The BJP’s presence in the electoral battle in Kerala has triggered tough competition in at least 25 constituencies in the state for the May 16 assembly polls—the sixth and final phase of the state assembly polls.

From bi-polar to tri-polar, the party is playing all its cards to make its presence felt in the southern state. The question is— Will the lotus bloom in Kerala?

Party leaders feel that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will improve BJP’s prospects. The saffron party’s steady growth is worrying both Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and CPI (M)-backed Left Democratic Front(LDF), who are blaming each other for its surge.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, the party got 10. 4 % votes, but went up to to 14% in local body election held six months back. If it manages 3 to 4% more votes, political equations will change, according to political commentators.

“Opening an account is a thing of the past. Now, we are aiming to pocket maximum seats,” said PS Sreedharan Pillai, former president of state unit, who is locked in a fierce three-cornered fight in Chenganoor in Alapuzha district. In some constituencies of Thiruvananthapuram, Kasargode and Palakkad, the party is giving a tough fight to both.

BJP has shortlisted at least 30 seats and formulated an action plan parading many central leaders. Senior ministers such as Arun Jaitley, JP Nadda, Sadananda Gowda and Rajiv Pratap Rudi have already visited the state.

The party is desperately wooing caste outfits and sulking political partners to end its long political wilderness. It roped in Adivasi leader CK Janu and made her a candidate in Wayanad, north Kerala. It is also raising the Congress-CPI(M) electoral tie-up in West Bengal to embarrass both.

“No doubt, people will expose their double standards. It is a fact that leaders like Sitaram Yechury and AK Antony are skirting the Bengal tie-up to avoid embarrassment,” said state chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, who is trying his luck from Vattioorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram.

Given the population ratio of the state (28% Muslims, 17% Christians and 55% Hindus), the party knows its penetration won’t be that easy. The party feels a tie-up with BDJS (Bharat Dharma Jana Sena), the fledgling political outfit of backward Ezhavas, will fetch it good dividends.