From the Viewsroom

From the Viewsroom: Lotus position

Jinoy Jose P | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on May 03, 2016

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How the BJP is disrupting Kerala politics

Will the BJP drive a wedge into Kerala’s political history and emerge as an influential third force in the coming Assembly elections? This question has raged ever since Kummanam Rajasekharan, the BJP’s State chief, formed an electoral alliance comprising most of the anti-Left forces and powerful Hindu community organisations which, curiously enough, form an arguably significant slice of the Left's vote bank.

The Left, however, maintains that the outcome of the polls would further emaciate the communal forces that have joined hands with the BJP, especially the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena backed by the Ezhava organisation Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam headed by liquor tycoon Vellappally Natesan. Natesan is one of the BJP’s many prize catches. CK Janu, the once-formidable tribal leader could — the BJP hopes — cause a significant dent in the Left’s vote base, especially in north Kerala where tribal groups command some influence. Interestingly, the BJP has been able to communally polarise the State through campaigns online and offline, confusing a decent chunk of middleclass voters.

Still, the party is far from being a real third front when it comes to numbers in the Assembly: at the most, it could win a couple of seats. But the LDF-UDF bipolarity has been disrupted, going by the pre-poll brouhaha. The BJP this time has vocal supporters among celebrities such as actor Suresh Gopi and cricketer Sreesanth, which the party thinks will help it enhance its vote share in several constituencies. Given that the vote share between the LDF and the UDF at times go dangerously thin, the NDA’s votes could be decisive in some key constituencies.

Earlier, each front would charge the other with hobnobbing with the BJP to pocket its share of votes, but this time the BJP seems to have decided to prove its mettle, with an eye on the long term. That strategy may or may not work, but the fact that the BJP has gained so much political confidence is in itself a victory for the party which, some years ago, could not even win a local body election.

Jinoy Jose P Senior Assistant Editor

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Published on May 03, 2016
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