Why the minorities must help the BJP in Kerala

via http://www.sify.com/news/why-the-minorities-must-help-the-bjp-in-kerala-news-columns-ld3qscddgji.html published on March 30, 2011

By Salil Jose – Sify.com 

If there is anything that unites the United Democratic Party and Left Democratic Party in Kerala, it is their hatred of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The common agenda of both fronts over the years has been to keep the BJP away from the Kerala assembly.

In the past elections, the two fronts concentrated their efforts on creating a strong aversion to the BJP among the voters in the state. The strong presence of the minority communities in Kerala did not help the BJP too.

Words like ‘Ayodhya’ and ‘Hindutva’ were used by the UDF and the LDF to invoke fear in these communities and make them shun the BJP.

However, irrespective of the strong anti-BJP sentiment, the party has managed to gain an almost 12 percent vote share in the state over the years.

The party’s vote share in the 2006 assembly elections was six percent. This rose to 10 percent in the Lok Sabha election in 2009, and to 12 percent in the local body polls in October 2010.

It may be recalled that the party lost the Manjeswaram assembly seat in Kasargod district in 1991 by a few votes. BJP’s KG Marar would have beaten Muslim League’s Cherkulam Abdullah had the CPI-M not transferred some of its votes to the Muslim League.

The BJP is fielding candidates in all constituencies in the state this time around.

Some of their candidates have a fair chance of registering a win by virtue of their charisma or leadership qualities.

The candidates who could win include former Union minister O Rajagopal, who is contesting from Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district, and the party’s young leader K Surendran who is contesting from Manjeswaram.

Recently, the BJP got a shot in the arm when sitting independent MLA KJ Alphons Kannanthanam joined the party. Alphons, who was inducted into the BJP national executive, will be campaigning for the party candidates.

While the party can win two or three seats, certain elements in the UDF and LDF may still play spoilsport. They may transfer votes in constituencies where the BJP has a chance to win.

Long overdue

The victory of at least one BJP candidate is long overdue in Kerala. It will have an everlasting impact on the political and social milieu of the state.

The victory is all the more important since the so-called regional parties have failed to check the ever recurring tyranny of the UDF and LDF.

BJP winning even a seat can send shockwaves through both fronts, making them introspect and make amends.

At a time when the regional parties are playing second fiddle to their big brothers in the UDF and LDF, even a single seat that the BJP might win will catapult it to the level of a strong Opposition party.

They will become a party that can’t be neglected and one that must always be heeded to in the state.

It is this role that the party seemed to be eyeing when its state president V Muraleedharan recently said, “We will be projecting ourselves as the real Opposition in the state, which is ruled by the LDF and the UDF alternately. The two coalitions are responsible for all the stunted growth of the state. The presence of the BJP in the assembly as a corrective force is inevitable.”

In this context, it is highly important for the so-called minorities to realise that the BJP is just another party and that the party gaining some influence in Kerala isn’t going to harm them.

Even if the right-wing party manages to win one or two seats, it will do only good for the state.

The BJP can be an effective counterweight and a voice of the people of Kerala in situations where the UDF and the LDF fail the state.

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