BJP in a steady growth path in Kerala, Amit Shah assures cadres

published on September 8, 2014

Huddled with his party’s Kerala leaders, BJP chief Amit Shah asked how many of them were confident of the BJP coming to power in the state. Only around a fourth of the state committee members raised their hands. Shah had got his first answer in drawing out the BJP’s strategy in a state where the party had never won any seat.

The party president told the state unit that what was of foremost importance was that the leadership should have confidence, according to sources. After Shah’s two-day visit to Thiruvananthapuram last week, the state party has been busy doing the arithmetic on profile of voters. Shah has asked the party to focus on the enrolment drive from November one, target the Thiruvanathapuram corporation next year as a precursor to assembly polls in 2016 and aim for 17,000 of the 21,000 booths.

“He has lifted the morale of party workers and galvanised them,” BJP’s state president V Muralidharan said. In his attempt to instil hope in the state party and cut through its psychological barrier of never having won a seat, Shah drew a comparison between Kerala and Uttar Pradesh, latter being the state where the BJP won 72 of the 80 Lok Sabha seats. He pointed out that in Kerala the party got more than 50,000 votes in 19 of the 20 seats in this Lok Sabha election while in UP in the last general election, the BJP got over 50,000 votes only in 17 of the 80 seats.

He also cited cases of Maharashtra and Gujarat, where there was a time when the BJP was not influential and said Kerala had more potential with a steady base. The RSS has the largest number of shakhas in the state, which has been dominated by bipolar politics of the left-led LDF and Congress-led UDF.

The party is now working on a strategy to strengthen the organisational strength and translate its base into seats in a state where the BJP failed to get any seat even in an election it got a decisive mandate for the first time. In its expansion plans, Kerala is on the party leadership’s radar besides West Bengal, another state which has been a Left stronghold. Shah was in Kolkata on Sunday.

With its vote share in Kerala increasing from six per cent in 2009 to 11 per cent in 2014, the BJP is planning to begin its battle for the state from the local body elections in October next year. The BJP had led in 63 of the 100 wards in Thiruvananthapuram during the Lok Sabha polls, party sources said. “We will focus on development and corruption,” Muralidharan said.

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