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    Four possible toehold spots for BJP in Kerala

    Four possible toehold spots for BJP in Kerala

    New Delhi: The BJP secured 10 per cent or more votes on nine Lok Sabha seats in Kerala in 2014 but barring Thiruvananthapuram, it came nowhere near even the victory mark. However, in 2019, riding on the Sabarimala sentiment, the party sees a realistic chance for itself on at least four seats -- Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta and Kasargod.

    An analysis of the 2014 Lok Sabha results show that the party just stopped short of opening its account in the state when its candidate O. Rajagopal came second against Shashi Tharoor of the Congress in Thiruvananthapuram. Rajagopal had polled 32.09 per cent votes while Tharoor had got 34.09 per cent. 

    This time, the BJP has fielded former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan from Thiruvananthapuram, who is putting up a strong fight in the post-Sabararimala environment. LDF candidate C. Divakaran is a popular Minister, making it a high-profile contest as all three candidates have strong presence. 

    The BJP is sensing a chance in Pathanamthitta as well which was the hotbed of the Sabarimala agitation against the Supreme Court decision to allow entry of menstruating women into the temple ending the age-old tradition. 

    The BJP has fielded K. Surendran, who spearheaded the protests last year, from Pathanamthitta. The party had got 15.95 per cent votes on the seat in 2014, one of the highest after Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod. 

    The Congress has fielded sitting MP Anto Antony, who is also a popular face. He had secured 41.19 per cent votes in 2014. 

    But it will be an uphill task for the BJP as past results show that in Kerala the winning candidates have mostly got around 40 per cent votes barring in a few seats like Thiruvananthapuram where Shashi Tharoor got considerably less. 

    The BJP is banking on the polarisation of Hindu votes to make an impact in Kerala which is dominated by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF). 

    The party's vote share across the state was around 10 per cent, which went up to around 14 per cent in the 2016 Assembly elections. 

    The BJP has tied up with Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), a rightwing party, which is contesting from Waynad against Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Alathur, Idukki and Mavelikkara. Kerala Congress (T), another BJP ally in the state, is contesting from Kottayam. 

    In 2014, the Congress had won 8 seats while its partners IUML had won 2 and KECM 1. The CPI-M got 5 seats, ILDF won 2 and CPI got 1. RSP got one. 

    Seats where BJP had 10 per cent or more vote share in 2014: 

    1. Pathanamthitta :  BJP's M.T. Remesh got 15.95 per cent votes and came third
    Winner was Anto Antony of the INC with 41.19 per cent votes 

    Candidates in 2019:  Congress has placed bets on Anto Antony again 
    The BJP has fielded K Surendran who had spearheaded the campaign against the SC verdict on Sabarimala. Pattanmittha was the centre of Sabaramila agitation. 
    The Left has fielded sitting MLA Veena George of CPI-M :

    2. Ernakulam: BJP's A.N. Radhakrishnan got 11.63 per cent votes and came third.

    Winner was Prof. K.V. Thomas of INC winning 41.58 per cent of votes 
    Candidates in 2019:
    Congress has fielded sitting MLA Hibi Eden 
    CPI-M has fielded P. Rajeev, a former Rajya MP and one of the most popular faces 
    BJP has made union Minister K.J. Alphons as a candidate 

    3. Chalakudy : BJP's B. Gopalakrishnan got 10.41 per cent votes 
    Winner was Innocent of CPI-M with 40.50 per cent votes 
    P.C. Chacko of INC secured 38.93 per cent votes 
    Candidates in 2019: 
    The Congress has fielded Benny Behanan, a two-time legislator 
    The CPI-M's candidate is again Innocent, a popular actor and comedian 
    BJP has fielded A.N. Radhakrishnan 

    4. Thiruvananthapuram : BJP's O. Rajagopal got 32.09 per cent votes in 2014 and came second 
    Winner was Shashi Tharoor of INC who got 34.09 per cent of votes 
    Candidates in 2019 
    The most-watched contest in the state as all three candidates are strong as the BJP came closest to win its first Lok Sabha seat in Kerala from here in 2014. 
    Congress has renominated Shashi Tharoor
    CPI has fielded high-profile Minister C. Divakaran 
    BJP's candidate is former Mizoram Governor Rajasekharan 

    5. Attingal: BJP's Girja Kumar got 10.53 per cent of votes 
    Winner was A. Sampath of CPI-M with 45.67 per cent votes 
    Bindu Krishna of Congress got 37.60 per cent of votes
    Candidates in 2019: 
    Congress has fielded Adoor Prakash, a popular MLA from Konni 
    CPI-M has fielded A. Sampath, the sitting MP 
    BJP has fielded Sobha Surendran, a national executive member of BJP 

    6. Kasargod: BJP's K. Surendran got 17.72 per cent votes
    Winer was P. Kapunakran of CPI-M with 39.48 per cent votes
    Siddique of Congress got 38.72 per cent votes 
    Candidates in 2019:
    Congress has fielded Rajmohan Unnithan 
    CPI-M has fielded K.P. Satheesh Chandran 
    BJP's candidate is Raveesh Thanti Kuntar 

    7. Palakkad: BJP's Sobhasurendran got 15 per cent of votes 
    Winner was M.B. Rajesh of CPI-M with 45.35 per cent votes
    M.P. Veerendrakumar of Socialist Janata (Democratic) Party got 33.78 per cent votes
    Candidates in 2019 
    Congress candidate is V.K. Sreekandan 
    CPI-M has fieleded M.B. Rajesh again
    BJP has fielded C. Krishnakumar 

    8. Thrissur : BJP's K.P. Sreesan got 11.15 per cent votes
    Winner was C. N Jayaderan of CPI with 42.27 percent votes
    Candidates in 2019: 
    Congress candidate is T.N. Prathapan 
    BJP's candidate is actor Suresh Gopi
    Rajaji Mathew Thomas is contesting for CPI 

    9. Kozhikode : BJP's C.K. Padamanabhan got 12.27 per cent votes 
    Winner was M.K. Raghavan of Congress with 42.15 votes
    Candidates in 2019: 
    Congress -- M.K. Raghavan, the popular sitting MP 
    BJP -- Advocate K.P. Prakash Babu, who was jailed recently for allegedly attacking women during Sabarimala protests
    CPI-M -- A. Pradeep Kumar, a three-time MLA


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