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Outlook for BJP in Kerala

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Outlook for BJP in Kerala
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'One of the essential texts of the RSS, its ideologue Golwalkar's 'Bunch of Thoughts' identifies three threats to India - Muslims, Christians and communists. Kerala has a significant population of all of these three 'dangerous' categories. It is not easy for the BJP to make political inroads in a state thus populated. Several from the BJP ardently propagated, and some even honestly believed that the BJP would make drastic inroads into the state in the just-completed assembly elections. The BJP State President even proclaimed several times that the right-wing party would form the government in the state. Their Palakkad candidate, E Sreedharan, went to the extent of declaring that he was prepared to be the Chief Minister. The State President also declared that unlike the other two fronts competing in the elections, the party would need not 71 seats for a majority like other parties, but a mere 35 seats to form the government. It was an open proclamation that the BJP would buy out winning MLAs as they did in other states. Though political analysts paid no heed to these hollow declarations, the BJP leaders, followers and sympathisers were in the fond hope that they are going to make drastic inroads into the state's politics. However, their hopes were dashed in the assembly results. Their vote share fell from 16% to less than 12%. The party faced an insulting backlash, losing even the one seat they held in the previous assembly.

No deep analysis is required to decipher why the BJP lost in the state. They have declared a majority of the Kerala population as enemies – and that constitutes their basic ideological ground too. The state president put forth that in assembly constituencies where they held a chance of winning, Muslim vote consolidation worked against their favour. This might be true for Nemom, Kazhakootam, Palakkad, Manjeshwaram, and Kasargod. If Muslims voted against the BJP en masse, it is indeed proof of their political maturity. They do not have the need to elect an organisation that deems them enemies and plans for their complete evacuation. Spreading hate against the Muslim community was a key agenda of the state-wide Kerala Yatra held by the BJP state president ahead of the elections. In such a situation, it is only natural that Muslims woke up to the situation and worked with fervour. However, the BJP was also not able to make any headway in other constituencies they had hoped for, including Konni, Aranmula, Chengannur, and Kattakada, despite Muslim votes being negligible. Surendran's 'Muslim consolidated action' theory does not explain the loss in these seats. One can only infer that the Kerala population, as a whole, and not just the Muslims, have discarded them.

From the perspective of an RSS/BJP ideologue, it is indeed a disenchanting loss. It has been a long they have been investing time, energy and money in this. It is indeed heartbreaking then that all that was in vain. And this time, several key leaders including Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, JP Nadda, Yogi Adithyanath and several other central ministers campaigned in the state. A huge amount of money was pumped in. Celebrities including Metroman Sreedharan and actor Suresh Gopi were in the fray. It might indeed be worrying for them that in such circumstances where no stone was left unturned, they lost.

Normally, one expects those who campaigned and propagated pure hatred on communal lines and lost, to turn around after results and try to water it down. But in this case, the State President continued to spew hatred in the press conference after the declaration of results. One must decipher from this that they haven't learnt their lesson. Why can't they understand that they cannot win elections in a state with about 30% Muslim population spreading hate against Muslims? They also attempted to see if they could turn Christians, another minority community, against Muslims in the state. They tried to create a Hindu-Christian consolidation against Muslims wielding weapons such as 'love jihad'. It is indeed sad that CPM leaders of the likes of Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also attempted to generate similar sentiments within the Christian community. That was how that issues such as the Hagia Sophia of Turkey found their way into the Kerala public discourse. But none of these created much impact. PC George, who played the anti-Muslim card more astutely than the BJP, was defeated in Poonjar, a constituency with a significant Christian population. Simply put, it is not possible to make political gains by turning Christians against Muslims. The BJP in Kerala is in a pitiable state after all their attempts went in vain. What next? The only way out is for them to rectify their fundamental communal stances. But the BJP would cease to be BJP if they did so. In a nutshell, this assembly election result underlines the fact that the BJP, as a party, is irrelevant in Kerala politics.

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TAGS:Assembly Elections BJP Kerala won no seats loss of votes 
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