In Kerala’s hitherto heavily loaded bipolar political scenario, the BJP for long has been trying to make its grand entry by becoming the third force, but so far, apart from mere rhetoric, it has not been able to move forward, especially the way they would have wanted to.
Kerala goes to polls on April 6 and the party is putting its best foot forward and getting ready for a high voltage election campaign that will see the likes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and all its top brass visiting the state.
During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, all that BJP managed was 15.64 per cent of the total votes polled, up from the 14.96 per cent which they managed in the 2016 assembly polls.
And the only success they have had so far is to open its account in the 2016 Assembly polls when its veteran and seasoned leader and former Union Minister O.Rajagopal won from the Nemom assembly seat in the capital city.
State BJP president K.Surendran, however, is already on Cloud 9, and has predicted that this time things will be different and they will spring a surprise.
“You just wait and see on how the BJP is going to perform this time and we will surprise all,” said Surendran, whose statewide yatra is coming to a close on Saturday, here.
His earlier statement made during the December local body polls, fell flat and it came nowhere near his predictions.
However, a popular media critic said the BJP in Kerala despite having the backing of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre in terms of resources for the elections and also for bringing in their top most national leadership, things have to be taken as they come.
“One thing they are unable to get over is apart from the same old faces who keep contesting the polls again and again, they are unable to cultivate a strong second run leadership. Over and above that, similar to the Congress party in Kerala, the BJP is deeply divided among their faction leaders too,” said the critic who did not wish to be identified.
This time one issue that could play spoilsports is the way one of their most popular face Sobha Surendran is being treated by the state leadership.
Shobha, was in political wilderness for the past one year and after having recently resurfacing, she has made it clear that this time she will not contest.
That has come as a surprise, as in the 2016 assembly elections she finished second from a assembly constituency in Palakkad district and in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, she finished a strong third from the Attingal constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district.
Surendran known for being a loose cannon at times causes embarrassment for the BJP and the latest faux pas was when he blamed the media for twisting his remarks when after first saying that Metroman E.Sreedharan would be the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP, he backtracked and said the media got it wrong.
One reason why the BJP in Kerala is unable to break its shackles and move forward is on account of the strong presence of the minority communities which includes the Muslim (88.8 lakh) and Christian (61 lakh) population together accounting for 1.49 crore of the total 3.34 crore Kerala population.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, they won the Nemom seat and finished second in seven seats and even though the BJP’s Kerala unit is having high hopes of a hugely improved performance which includes winning a few seats, one will have to wait till May 2 when the votes are counted.