25-Jun-2017
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BJP is planning big to win its first Lok Sabha seat from Kerala

KOCHI March 14: Buoyed by the thumping victory in UP, the BJP is planning to translate its base in states including Kerala into results, with an aim to win 120 LS seats from select constituencies where it has never won so far.
 
The party is likely to induct a Malayalee into Union Ministry in the next rejig. Most probably, the state BJP president Kummanam Rajashekharan is rumoured to be the best bet for the post.  
 
In the national executive meeting of the BJP held at Kozhikode in Kerala last September, the national leadership had chalked out a specific plan for expanding its base in Kerala.
 
The next task for the party, which won nearly 15% of total votes polled in the Assembly polls last May, will now be aiming at winning the first Lok Sabha seat from Kerala.
 
Since 2014, the BJP-led NDA had made a substantial gain in different elections in the state, and it is read as a saffron surge in a state which kept the BJP waiting for decades. 
 
Even though smaller parties, with less than 10 % of votes, manage to win seats in Kerala, BJP could not win a single seat until last year as its voter base is scattered across the state.
 
Parties like Muslim League and Kerala Congress traditionally holds forte in their respective regions because of their concentration in these constituencies and with the help of major fronts.
 
Now, the big challenge before the BJP is to make the maximum out of the constituencies where it emerged as the second vote winner and to give it a final push to steal the show. 
 
But it is not easy in Kerala context as the BJP is yet to emerge as a credible alternative to the UDF and the LDF, the two major fronts that almost equally share the vote pie and a minor swing would mean a lot.
 
The BJP will need 5% or more of the vote share across the state with at least a few constituencies showing a discernible swing towards it to elect its representative to LS in 2019. 
 
The BJP's social engineering attempts by inducting the Ezhava dominated Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) and other community organisations into the NDA had only limited success so far.
 
The BDJS is sulking now and has reportedly sent feelers to the Congress-led UDF. In the present political scenario, the saffron party will have to find more partners with wider base and appeal. And it is not an easy task.