Realising the importance of Christian voters ahead of the Assembly elections in Kerala, the BJP has started reaching out to the churches in the southern state.
In central Kerala, the Christian community plays a decisive role with the Catholic church having huge influence.
The BJP’s move to reach out to the Christian community ahead of the Kerala Assembly polls is seen as an attempt to gain the confidence of the community, which has got significant influence in the constituencies in central Kerala.
As per the 2011 Census, about 45 per cent of Kerala’s total population belong to the minority communities, including Muslims. Around 40 Assembly constituencies falling in Thrissur, Chalakudy, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta are known as Christian heartlands, will be crucial for every political party.
BJP kerala spokesperson Sandeep Vachaspati told IANS that the party is reaching out to all sections of the society with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Sabka Sath, Sabha Vikas’.
Another BJP leader said that the Catholic church has huge influence among its 35 lakh-strong community and the three different Catholic groups dominate the per cent Christians in Kerala.
“There are some misunderstandings or communication gaps with the Christian community which we are trying to sort out,” he said.
Recently, the BJP poll co-incharge for Kerala and Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka N. Ashwath Narayan had met a senior Catholic priest.
Kerala BJP chief K. Surendran had also met Syro-Malabar church head Cardinal George Alencherry. Surendran’s meeting with Alencherry took place in the middle of the party’s ongoing ‘Vijaya Yatra’, which he is leading.
A party leader said that during the meeting, Narayan tried to dispel whatever differences were there with the Christian community and sought his cooperation.
The 140-member Kerala Assembly will go to the polls on April 6. The results will be declared May 2.
Currently, the BJP has only one member in the Kerala Assembly. Sources said the BJP may field a few Christian candidates for the upcoming polls.