Will lotus bloom this time in Kerala?

TRIVANDRUM — The determined effort being made by the Bharatiya Janata Party to open its account in the Kerala Assembly in the April 13 polls has made the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist) jittery.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Sun 27 Mar 2011, 11:13 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:20 PM

Though senior LDF leaders rule out the possibility of the Hindutva party winning any of the 140 seats it is contesting in the state, they think that a sizeable increase in the BJP votes could spell trouble for their candidates.

This is because the BJP is wooing the traditional CPI (M) votes to make the electoral breakthrough. More than 75 per cent of the votes the CPI (M) polls in the state come from the Hindus.

The party needs all these votes to win seats this time since it has alienated a sizeable section of the minorities after it has come to power in 2006.

The LDF could win 100 of the 140 seats in 2006 because of the support it got from various Muslim organisations, including the People’s Democratic Party led by Abdul Nasser Madhani, and a section of the Christian community.

While some of these Muslim organisations have pledged their support to the UDF this time, the Church has refrained from making any appeal in favour of either fronts. Last time the Latin Church in Trivandrum and Ernakulam had backed the LDF.

The CPI (M) has been trying to consolidate the Hindu votes by adopting a soft Hindutva line.

The party has tried to placate the major Hindu organisations like the Nair Service Society and the Sree Narayana Dharmaparipalana Sangham by addressing most of their concerns. Though the BJP has not ensured the support of any of these organisations, it is trying to win the seats by fielding candidates acceptable to a wider section of the people.

The BJP has made a strong bid for the Nemom seat in Trivandrum district by fielding former federal minister O Rajagopal, who had polled more than 228,000 votes in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections in Trivandrum.

The BJP has also put up powerful candidates in Manjeswaram and Kasargod, where the party has been runner up in the last two elections. BJP leaders say that the party has been losing both the seats due to the deliberate attempt by the two fronts to prevent the party from winning the seats by transferring their votes to the rival candidates.

The BJP leaders think the two fronts may not adopt such a tactics this time as both are not expecting an easy walkover in the coming election. Neither of them may like to concede a seat to the other in such a tight situation. This has enlivened the BJP hope of making the lotus bloom in Kerala this time.

The other seats, in which the BJP has pinned its hope, are Kattakkada in Trivandrum district and Palaghat in north Kerala. The party won 15 seats in the Palghat municipality in the local body elections held in October last year.

However, political observers do not think that the BJP would be able to make it to the Assembly this time since its votes in all the Assembly elections since 1982 never crossed 7 per cent.

The party’s vote share in the last election was a mere 4.75 per cent. It was 5.02 per cent in 2001.

The highest share 6.8 per cent votes the BJP polled in Kerala was in 1987. Since then its votes were on a steady decline.

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