APN News

  • Sunday, September, 2021| Today's Market | Current Time: 09:31:30
  • by Suresh Unnithan

    Kerala BJP President K Surendran

    Kerala still remains elusive for the invincible BJP.  The party in power at the Centre with a massive majority was out for a diamond duck, despite deploying all its might- money, men and muzzle. The saffron brigade not only failed to enhance its tally, but lost the lone existing seat to arch rival CPM and its  multi-colour dream of  conquering  the “Gods own country” got dampened.  The BJP scoring zero in every election- from Assembly to Parliament, never surprised the Kerala electorate, for they knew the saffron party “has hardly done anything to impress the voters.” However, the party could spring a surprise in 2016 Assembly election winning one seat, Nemam. The victory is mostly attributed to the popular goodwill the candidate, O Rajagopal enjoyed.

     Interestingly, the CPM-led LDF and its political rival the Congress-led UDF are competing to “snatch” the credit of “closing BJP account” in the state assembly. “We have closed the account that BJP opened in the Kerala assembly in 2016 election,” tweeted Dr Thomas Isaac, a top CPM leader and finance minister in the outgoing LDF government.

    But, political pundits attribute the “abject failure” of the saffron party to “counter-consolidation of minority communities against BJP and drifting of the neutral Hindu votes towards CPM”

    Many within the party opine, “The faulty and haughty approach of party’s state chief K Surendran and his advisors” was the immediate cause for this “disgraceful” electoral defeat.”   Surendran himself was humbled in both the seats he contested-Konni and Manjeswaram.  In 2016 he lost Majeshwaram by just 89 votes and this time the defeat margin was around 1,200 votes. At Konni, the BJP was expecting to exploit the Sabarimala issue, but lost miserably. Surendran was at a distant third with just 32,811 votes, while LDF nominee Jenish Kumar won with 62,318 votes and UDF’s Robin Peter polled 53,810 votes.

    May be, for the first time in Kerala’s electoral history the state chief of a party lost both the seats contested.

    The BJP could to extract any dividend from the sentimental Sabarimala. In fact, “majority of Ayyappa (the Hindu deity at Sabarimala) devotees did not agree with the deity being (miss) used for political gains.”

    Popular leaders of the BJP like C K Padmanabhan also admitted “Sabarimala issue did not prove to be effective for the party in this election”.  Many agree with him in his observation that Sabarimala should not have been projected as an electoral issue since “the issue is purely religious and sentimental.”

    “Overdose of religious overtones in poll campaigns only helped to alienate the Minorities and also a considerable number of Hindu community voters,” felt Aji Kumar, a BJP supporter from Kollam.  “The present (BJP) leadership has a misconception that minority bashing could puff up the party base, but this is proving counterproductive.”   He also felt, the extravaganza like the controversial helicopter ride of party state chief K Surendran and intense internal strife also depleted the party’s poll prospects.

    C K Padmanabhan, former BJP state chief and a moderate and popular face of the party has openly accused K Surendran for the pathetic electoral defeat.  Castigating the state party chief’s “flawed and pretentious moves” like contesting from two constituencies as the prime reasons for the goof ups Padmanabhan told the media soon after the election results were out “the decision to contest from two seats was certainly taken by the central leadership. We know K Karunakaran who contested from two seats – Nemom and Mala – he won from both the seats. But we haven’t seen the state president of a party contesting from two seats. This has happened for the first time. The helicopter politics will not create any impact in Kerala. The tricks that would work with the people in North India will not work here.”

     A hardened BJP supporter who does not wish to be identified said “the arrogant and haughty public outbursts from young party leaders like Sandeep Warrier could only deprive the BJP of neutral votes. No level headed and right thinking people can approve of the abusive language he uses against opponents in TV debates and public speeches. If the party needs progress such hotheaded leaders has to be restrained.”

     Senior leaders like Padmanabhan openly admit factional feud was also one of the main reasons for the “zero” performance of the party. “There are political and organisational reasons for BJP’s loss in Kerala. We not only didn’t get the expected results but suffered a setback,” he lamented in public.

    In the just concluded election apart from losing the lone assembly seat in the state,  BJP’s vote share dwindled from 16% to 11 %. The party polled poorly in about 90 out of the 140 assembly constituencies and lost nearly five lakh votes compared to 2016 assembly election.

     Many pro-saffron political observers confessed the “entry of technocrat E Sreedharan in Palakkad and film actor Suresh Gopi in Thrissur also could not make any electoral impact,  thanks to the ongoing dogfight within the party.”

    When asked about the criticism “we will introspect everything and find solutions to those issues” was the “spirited” response from Surendran.

    As a senior journalist observed “propaganda alone cannot make you win an election.  The poor electoral outcome in the state is the result of the sheer arrogance of the BJP and its leaders. If it has to win in Kerala the party needs to shelve its hate politics and communal agenda. In the North you may win the voters with Jai Sriram slogans, but in Kerala Swamiyee Sharanam Ayyappa alone will not fetch you victory.”  

    Source : pninews.com