BJP seems still to understand the Kerala situation

via Mahadev published on November 24, 2005

 


 The debacle of the BJP at the Thiruvananthapuram by-election held on Nov 19 where its candidate, former state president Mr C K Padmanabhan has not only lost the election but also the security deposit, is a serious issue which warrants an introspection by its leaders. The party, which came third in the previous election when its candidate and former Union Minister, Mr O Rajagopal polled over 2 lakh votes, could secure only around 37,000 votes now.


 


The results clearly indicate that even the party’s own committed cadres did not vote for its candidate. Had they all cast their votes Mr Padmanabhan would not have lost his security deposit. The strategy might have been that when winning the election by the BJP candidate was quite impossible it was better to defeat the Congress or the candidate of their second preference.  But, the predicament of the BJP in the state is that it has not so far been able to become a party acceptable to all the Hindus in the state, despite its carrying the image of a party of the Hindus. Majority of the Hindus who still treat the RSS as “untouchable”, continue to brand the BJP as the party of the RSS. Though the party has been trying in recent years to project itself as a secular party like its other counterparts, so far it seems to have failed in Kerala. The reality is that the party, which does not have an aggressive, shrewd and scientific  political strategy and charismatic leaders, has failed miserably in penetrating into the Hindu psyches and minds at the grass-root level who have been indoctrinated for several decades with the anti-RSS poison by the Communists and the Congress.


 


A major segment of Hindus who have achieved some consolidation in recent years is the Ezhavas. Majority of them rally behind the Communists. Notwithstanding, a good chunk of their votes could go the way of the diktats of the SNDP leadership. It is evident from the highest ever votes bagged by Mr Rajagopal. But this time, the community was almost solidly behind the CPI candidate Mr Pannyam Raveendran, who happens to be an Ezhava while the Congress candidate,Mr Sivakumar is from the Nair community. Therefore, one can come to the conjecture that voting still takes place on communal lines, of course in the absence of a party of the Hindus and acceptable to the majority irrespective of their caste moorings.


 


On the other hand, the much talked about Hindu unity by the NSS and the SNDP leaderships, which still has its foundation in loose soil, never consider the BJP as their party. The SNDP considers the RSS and the BJP as of the upper castes, while the upper caste Nairs still feel it is non-secular. Their such feelings were cemented by the party’s performance when it came to power in New Delhi. SNDP leadership in confabulation with the HK was quick to point out the allotment of petrol pumps during its regime to non-Hindus besides having Christians in the personal staff of the minister!


 


Caught in between are the poor Hindus of both these two major communities who either abstain or vote for the candidate who is likely to win. Unless the party transcends its rhetorics and penetrate into the psyches and minds of the people at grass-root level as a true Hindu political party and by removing the existing stigmas it would be able to build up a strong foundation. But it has to build up the image of a party of all the Hindus – upper castes, lower castes, SC and ST. If the Indian Union Muslim League, a party exclusively of the Muslims and yet were able to be secular and become an ally in the ruling combination in New Delhi now, the BJP could also be a party of the Hindus and at the same time secular. To be secular, it need not have to run ofter the non-Hindus and probably that is the mistake it has been doing, of late, in Kerala also and it has paid the price for it at Thiruvananthapuram.


e.o.m.

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