BJP to try with all its might to open account in Kerala

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on November 17, 2008

The Kerala unit of the BJP would use every ounce of its energy and resources to try to win at least one seat in the coming Lok Sabha election though other parties and critics are terming the objective as a mere dream. The BJP, which has in the course of time been able to make some good advances in the local bodies elections in the past three years, could not, however, make its mark in the Lok Sabha elections of 2004 or in the Assembly elections of 2006.

But, party sources said, they would try everything in their reserves to see to it that at least a single candidate of the party making it to the Parliament House in New Delhi. Though the party is unable to give the exact reasons for such a possibility, they say that they are better placed this time and plan to cash in on the frustration prevailing among the electorate about over the ‘insincerity’ of the two main fronts, the ruling LDF and Opposition LDF.

BJP sources said that they would be concentrating their efforts on Kasaragod Parliamentary constituency in the efforts to spring a surprise to the other parties. Of the seven Assembly segments in the Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency, two used to see the BJP candidates coming in the second place.

The BJP candidate for Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency in the coming election would most probably be the party’s former State president CK Padmanabhan. The BJP thinks that CK Padmanabhan, called fondly as CKP, is a well-reputed personality in Kasaragod and his clean image would be of great advantage to the party.

Party sources said that they were better placed in the constituency this time due to several factors including the pro-BJP sentiment that had grown among the Kannada-oriented voters in the Kerala-Karnataka border. They also said that the failure of the LDF in Kerala and the UDF in the Centre (UPA Government) to deliver had given them a better chance but observers doubted the possibilities.

In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, V Balakrishna Shetty of the BJP had been able to muster only 25 per cent of the votes polled by winning candidate P Karunakaran of the CPI(M). When Karunakaran polled 435,195 votes in the constituency with a total voter strength of 893,311, Shetty could get only 110,056 votes.

However, the BJP had always believed that the Left and the UDF used to play some game of cooperation in the case of Kasaragod district, apprehending the possibility of the BJP winning the seat. Though both the UDF and the LDF would not agree to this argument, local reports had always suggested such adjustments.

State BJP president PKK Krishnadas has no doubt in the chance of the party to win a seat this time. He says that after 27 years, the prospects of sending a member to the Lok Sabha from the State have brightened.

Since a large number of Kannadigas lived in Kasaragod, Manjeswaram and Uduma areas, the possibility this time is very high to get a member elected from there as the neighbouring Karnataka was ruled by the BJP, he says.

Among the Assembly segments of Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency, Manjeswaram and Kasaragod had chosen BJP for the second place in the last Assembly elections. Narayana Bhatt of the BJP had polled 31.32 per cent votes in Manjeswaram when CPI(M)’s CH Kunhambu got 35.71 per cent.

Similarly, N Raveendran of the BJP came second in Kasaragod with 28.38 per cent of the total votes when the victor, CT Ahmedali of the Congress polled 38.71 per cent votes. However, the statistics would not be of much relief to the party when the total vote percentage it had got in the last elections. From a vote share of 12 per cent in 2001 Assembly elections, it had come down to a mere four per cent in 2006.

But the BJP believes that it stands a chance this time in Kasaragod. The party has already chalked out various programmes to achieve the objective. It is organising Desaraksha Sadas from November 20 to December 10 in 1,110 centres in the State at which retired military officers would make the people aware of the spread of terrorism in the country.

Krishnadas admits that his party had lost a large number of votes in previous elections as its workers voted for the Congress to beat the CPI(M), he says now that the people have realised that the policies of both the CPI(M) and the Congress are one and the same, which would ultimately help get votes for the BJP.

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