An Indian view on history, current affairs and politics

August 19, 2018

Kerala: BJP’s southern conquest

While the overzealous media is busy propping up AAP in an apparent attempt to pit Kejriwal’s party against BJP in order to contain Modi, BJP is busy not only consolidating it’s strongholds but breaking new grounds. The glee with which congress is willing to endorse Kejriwal betrays the animosity displayed by AAP towards congress and hints towards a tacit understanding between both. If the assumption is that such a plan would succeed against Modi then probably they fail to recognize the genius of Modi. He is not just a master strategist and a skilled orator but a genius in organizational skills. It’s no secret that BJP has always relied on RSS for support and growth. It’s for the first time that RSS has got a shot in the arm with Narendra Modi’s presence.

Modi has himself been a RSS pracharak for long before he became Chief Minister. Not many know that behind his rise from a simple RSS pracharak to the most prolific politician of India lies a story of organisational success. The experience he has gained from extensive travels across most parts of India, serves him in good stead when it comes to strategy and planning. While the mainstream media was busy churning out propaganda against Modi, he was touring states where BJP wasn’t present. The RSS has always been at the forefront of breaking new ground but Modi’s presence seems to have galvanized the cadre and helped gravitate Hindus towards BJP.

In an address to RSS and BJP workers in Kerala in March 2011, Modi said, “No one ever thought that the Bharatiya Janata Party would rise to power in Goa. This was because of the hard work by party workers, expecting nothing in return. Their perseverance and selfless efforts bore fruits. The same can be said about states like Kerala and Nagaland, where party workers have set aside everything in life. Their dream of opening the party’s innings in their states will definitely see fruition. In Kerala, there have been martyrs too. I salute those soldiers whose heads were cut, those fishermen of Kerala who were killed. See in Kerala, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura: Karyakartas have given their lives too. There are workers who have worked from generation to generation. They never got fame- their names never appeared on TV or newspapers. But they have worked for the party,” to loud cheers and applause from audience.

His speech is not without substance. The recent spate of murderous attacks on RSS and BJP cadres underscores this point. The viciousness of attacks show the increasing desperation of dominant parties at losing significant vote share to BJP. .

As per analysis of 2011 state elections, BJP emerged strong in constituencies of Nemom,Kasargod,Manjeswaram,Kattakada,Palkkad, Kunnamangalam, Puthukkad and Vattiyoorkavu. In Nemom vote share increased from 5.58% to 37.65%, In Kasargod vote share increased from 28.38% to 37.08% and in Manjeswaram vote share increased from 31.32% to 33.11%. The BJP is the main opposition party in six panchayats of the Kattakada assembly constituency. Strong backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had worked wonders in the last panchayat elections, with the BJP winning several seats, including six in Thiruvananthapuram corporation and finishing second  in several constituencies with a margin of less than 50 votes.

In October last year, the C-Voter survey predicted BJP will get 16% vote share in Kerala. This is a massive 10% jump in just two years. Since October, there have been several favorable signals emerging from the state favoring Modi which is hinting at growing BJP’s prospects for upcoming parliamentary elections. The recent statement of Kerala’s largest OBC group SNDP chief Natesan’s remarks favoring Modi indicates further growth of BJP vote bank. SNDP holds about 20% Hindu votes in Kerala. 

There were reports that Kerala Congress (M) is taking a softer stand towards BJP as they fear that their candidate in Kottayam won’t win the election unless BJP offers help. Jose K Mani, the son of Kerala Congress(M) Chairman and State Finance Minister K M Mani will be contesting from Kottayam constituency in Kerala. Ruling coalition’s Chief whip from Congress(M) P C George’s presence in run for unity program is being seen in this light.

In order to make any significant gains in the state BJP cannot rely only on Hindu votes. They’ve been working with Christian groups in the state. If statements of Christian leaders in the state are anything to by, BJP has succeeded in this attempt. “Followers of the Jacobite faction in Kerala do not have any problems with Modi. We also have believers in Gujarat. They too don’t have any difficulties with Modi. In fact, they applaud his developmental efforts,”  said Thomas Mar Timotheos, metropolitan of the Kottayam diocese of the church. Earlier Modi had received a stamp of approval from Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church Baselios Mar Thoma Paulose II, but the religious leader later withdrew his statement under media pressure.

According to media reports, BJP is trying to setup an understanding with the Mar Thoma Syrian Church that has some 1 million followers across the world. The Church’s senior Metropolitan Philipose Mar Chrysostom had shared the platform with Modi when he attended the birthday celebration last week of Mata Amritananandamai. Modi had also attracted a lot of support with his visit to Sivagiri mutt last year.

BJP leadership is also trying to rope in Bishop Mathew Arackal of Kanjirapally for supporting Modi when he visits Kerala next time. It’s a fact that the bishop was nominated as member of the Planning Commission of India, the highest planning body in the country, when the BJP-led coalition government was in power in New Delhi a decade ago. BJP is also trying to make contacts with Protestant groups including multi-billionaire evangelist and self-designated Archbishop KP Yohannan, who wanted a smooth relationship with the party in power.

Though BJP has never ever won any seats in Loks Sabha or assembly elections in Kerala, they now enjoy a better position in Kerala as they have approximately 20 percent vote share and they can very well become the deciding factor in polls. In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, IFDP a small party chaired by P C Thomas had got elected with the support from BJP. It was the first parliamentary electoral victory of a NDA member in the state. “We are happy that now BJP is no untouchable party in Kerala. This time we would like to field our own candidates in all the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala,” BJP state President V Muralidharan said.

BJP’s optimism in Kerala is based on increasing support for Modi in the state. With the Modi wave seeping the country, there is a high probability BJP will make a historic breakthrough in the state riding on Modi’s popularity.

  • p subramanyan

    There is a BJP surge in peninsular India. A senior journalist has said that a 2% shift in public perception would make Kerala turn whollly BJP. (Modi has already made an impact in Kerala)That columnist has not exaggerated the situation. The fact is simply that. TN has long back written off the congress. 40 seats are in the kitty of Jayalalithaa. Andhra -all three regions Rayalaseema, Seemandhra and Telengana regions are fed up. Karnataka will veer round the BJP way now that Yediyurappa has realised his folly. The country will have a BJP PM> I would however differ from the views expressed in the last para. Why not regional leaders aspire ton become PM. We have had enough of the Nehru dynasty.. .

  • Reeejish

    Overly optimistic. Karuna has re iterated that he will go with Congress. Scams will not make a difference, Delhi is different. Even Mumbai will shrug off scams. Voters are influned by community and caste, So hindu vote is divided and muslim votes denied to b.j p. The power of semitic religious forces is immense, it spans across countries and will determine the events

  • Jagdeesh

    Mr Modi is getting good publicity thanks to UDF. No body would have thought that it is going to be a big show and many prominent persons from the state had attended the rally. The cong party is so scared that they are going to be left in the cold. The cong last Andhrapradesh, Tamilnadu, Karnataka (the present CM feels that it will be difficult after the recent Assembly elections result were cong is wiped out) and now Kerala. The noise will be more when the election dates are announced. Pondichery state also is doubtful since it is ruled by an ex-cong who had revolted against cong party. On the whole very gloomy situation for cong party. Jai HInd.

    • Nagar Iyer

      The 4 major South Indian states alone are going to contribute 100 seats to BJP’s kitty in LS 2014.
      This is the conclusion from an EXTRAPOLATIVE PESPHOLOGY based on Modi Wave throughout the South.
      BJP is likely to sweep the entire Karnataka, TN & AP routing the Congress. Even Kerala is most likely to open the BJP account with 4-6 seats.


        That is highly optimistic. Even if bjp wins 50. Seats in south, that would be nothing short of a wave.

  • praveen

    Modiji had written a condolence letter to the father of 35-year-old Vinod Kumar, the BJP worker who was stabbed to death in a clash between CPI-M and BJP workers at Payyannur in Kannur. ever heard such a senior politician personally taking care of ground level workers?

  • pcv

    NDA got 13% votes in 2004 Parliament election and BJP 11% on its own.
    The vote share list given in your article is for Assembly election.
    for lok sabha they get close to 8-10% votes.
    Kerala is 56% Hindu, 19% Christian, 25% Muslim.
    also Hindu obc were blindly left.
    Modi is consolidating upper caste Hindu, Christian and OBC votes

    • Adrien

      You’re right but last lok sabha BJP got around 8-10% voter share. The current surveys predict around 20% vote share so clearly a massive gain for Modi.

  • Adrien

    BJP no doubt is gaining ground in south. How much it translates into votes is yet to be seen

  • Nagar Iyer

    [] By a conservative estimate, BJP will score 300 on its own… If the all India voting percentage reaches 80% in LS 2014
    [] Will you all youth take an oath to VOTE WITHOUT FAIL in LS 2014?
    [] Will each one of u persuade 50 others to participate in Voting in LS 2014?
    [] Now there are just 130 days left to rescue our nation from the CORRUPT MAFIA which is ruling us. START YOUR CAMPAIGN NOW. CONTACT YOUR NEIGHBORS TO PERSUADE THEM TO VOTE


      You are right. Voting % holds the key. Bcos the main bjp voters are educated well to do busy with their lives. If they go out and vote that would be decisive victory for the bjp

  • Shantu

    Came to my home town, secunderabad for christmas breaks. My city was never this saffronized before. Such is the power of modi wave in Andhra Pradesh, that despite BJP’s pro-telangana stand, more and more leaders from seemandhra region are joining party. In the run for unity, a few congress mlas and congress party workers also joined in. My uncle who works for a state congress minister tells me that Congress in desperately hoping for an alliance with TRS without which it will be decimated in even in telangana region. While congress has buried itself alive in seemandhra region, another thing congress is fearing is the massive cross voting. My uncle himself said, that he is voting for BJP in Lok Sabha and is going to mobilize our entire locality to do the same. All these days congress was arrogant about south india being its bastion. Even after emergency period, south voted for indiraG. But this time even south is going to kick congress hard in the nuts. South India for BJP.

  • Nikhil

    I am from Kerala. Lot of Marxists in Kerala are leaving the party to support Modi. It has gone to such a level that chief of Indian Union Muslim League publicly asked all parties to join hands together to destroy BJP in Kerala. There are high chances in 4 seats. Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha (SNDP strong hold), Thiruvananthapuram.

    Hoping for a lotus wave across India.

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