BJP eager to open Assembly account through Rajagopal

via published on March 30, 2006

Pioneer News Service / Palakkad

As the campaigning for the Kerala Assembly election is slowly gaining momentum, one of the constituencies in spotlight is Palakkad, where former Union minister O Rajagopal is contesting as a BJP candidate.

Party cadres and leaders are in an upbeat mood and the leadership has already announced that the party would repeat the memorable performance of the last municipal elections.
The party is confident in that in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls it had done considerably well in Palakkad with its candidate C Udaya Bhaskaran Nair securing 1,47,792 votes. The party local leaders are of the opinion that if Mr Nair, who is most of the time in Nagpur could garner such a good number of votes, Mr Rajagopal can certainly put up a great show as he is one of the most popular leaders in the State.
The party is expecting to highlight in the campaign the commendable work he had done as a Union minister for the constituency and the State as a whole in the Railway Ministry.
That Mr Rajgopal is a native of Palakkad and he has put in more than 40 years in the social life of the constituency is another added advantage. The RSS leadership has already chalked out strategies for his victory and the local level leaders of the BJP are of the opinion that once the winnability of the candidate is established, there will not be any looking back.
A senior leader of the party told The Pioneer: “The BJP has good winning chance in many constituencies but what we lack is a systematic campaign and the feeling among our own sympathisers is that we are not serious in electioneering. In the 2004 Lok Sabha election, the BJP was in an aggressive mood in some constituencies and the results were for all to see.
“In fact, NDA candidate PC Thomas won the Muvattupuzha seat fighting against all the odds and if such performance and systematic work can be repeated, we are through.”

BJP State president Sreedharan Pillai has already communicated with the national leadership about the importance of this seat and a battery of senior leaders of the party including LK Advani is expected to arrive in Palakkad to lead the campaign of Mr Rajgopal from the front. The fact that party president Rajnath Singh himself announced Mr Rajagopal’s candidature states how important this seat is to the party.

The results of the last Lok Sabha polls are a good pointer to the BJP’s strength here: The BJP had obtained 30,315 votes in Palakkad Assembly segment, and it trailed behind winner NN Krishnadas of the CPI(M) by 11,070 votes. But 1,008 votes was the difference it had with Congress candidate VS Vijayaraghavan’s total.

BJP leaders feel that after the panchayath elections, the party has improved its position. BJP leaders also point out that the CPI(M), which had earlier announced Rasheed Kanichery, its teachers’ union leader, as candidate, changed it fearing a Hindu backlash and taking this fact into account the the Marxists announced the candidature of the trade union leader KK Divakaran.

The BJP is also banking on the indirect support or spillover votes of the DIC(K) given the strong resentment the grassroots cadres of the party have against UDF candidate AV Gopinath of the Congress as he, once a trusted lieutenant of K Karunakaran, had in a crucial stage, did not stand by him.

A senior DIC(K) leader told The Pioneer, “There is no need for us to support Mr Gopinath and we have taken a stand that those ‘I’ group leaders who had ditched our beloved leader will face the music and he is one among those who will be targeted.”

Local leaders of the DIC(K), who till the other day were expecting either an entry to the Left front or to contest independently, were taken aback by the decision of the party to ally with the Congress and this can be another point for the BJP to capitalise on.

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