BJP hopes to break no-win jinx in Kerala

January 21st, 2009 - 11:40 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Jan 21 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has not won a single assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala till now, is hoping to break the jinx in the upcoming parliamentary elections.The BJP’s central election committee Monday announced 18 candidates for the April-May Lok Sabha elections, of whom six are from Kerala.

Party leaders feel there is a change in the perception of the Kerala voter and the youngsters would vote for the BJP this time.

“We will contest all the 20 seats in Kerala. We will try every option to upset the two fronts led respectively by the Congress and the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist),” BJP state unit president P.K. Krishnadas told IANS over telephone.

Party leaders feel the people of Kerala are disenchanted with the way the Congress party, which heads the United Democratic Front (UDF), and the communists are opposing each other in the southern state but are quick to join hands in Delhi to keep the BJP at bay.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by the CPI-M won 18 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala in 2004.

“The UDF and the LDF fight each other here, but in Delhi they gang up to keep our party away from power. Kerala’s educated people, especially young voters, are aware of this drama. So, they will vote for us in the coming elections,” the party’s state vice president, V. Muraleedharan, told IANS.

He also feels that the BJP’s victory in the assembly elections in neighbouring Karnataka “has had a good impact in Kerala”. “These factors will help the party to open an account in the state,” he said.

The BJP leaders also cite CPI-M MP A.P. Abdullakutty’s praise for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s development agenda as a symbol of the change in attitude among the Muslims and Leftists in the state. Abdullakutty is a Muslim.

The leaders also give the example of the 2004 victory of then Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP) leader P.C. Thomas in the election to the Muvattupuzha seat with the support of the BJP. The party had campaigned for Thomas.

Though Thomas later quit the IFDP and joined the Kerala Congress-Joseph (KC-J), an ally of the LDF, the BJP leaders say a Christian winning with the backing of the BJP was a signal of change.

“This indicates things are turning around (for the BJP) in the state that is polarised between the LDF and UDF,” Krishnadas said.

He said as many as 44 percent of the voters in Kerala are from the minority Muslim and Christian communities.

“We could secure 12.5 percent votes in the last Lok Sabha elections (2004). This time, we are aiming to increase our vote share up to 16 percent,” Krishnadas said.

“There have been some positive signals from the minority communities,” Muraleedharan said.

He referred to the Marthoma church’s invitation to the BJP’s prime ministerial hopeful L.K. Advani to attend the 90th birthday celebrations of its leader Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Metropolitan on April 27 last year.

Muraleedharan claimed that this reflected a change in the attitude of the state’s Christian minorities.

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