BJP eyes up to 30 seats in Assembly polls

It aspires to tip the electoral balance in several more in a three-corned fight

Updated - January 23, 2021 05:32 pm IST

Published - January 23, 2021 05:31 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hopes to emerge as a deciding factor in what it says would be a tight three-cornered fight for the Assembly in April.

It hopes to register a win in at least 30 constituencies and tip the electoral balance in several more.

BJP district president V. V. Rajesh explained the rationale behind the projection. The BJP had garnered more than 30,000 votes in 11 Assembly constituencies in Thiruvananthapuram district alone, going by the local body elections’ polling statistics.

The party had registered an increase in vote share in varying degrees across Kerala. Mr. Rajesh said the BJP held all the cards for now and could play a pivotal role in the high-stakes triangular contest.

The party hoped to field heavyweights such as Kummanam Rajasekharan, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and P. K. Krishnadas to catalyse its electoral campaign.

The BJP has hired professional pollsters to aid its candidate selection. It would frame its election messaging to appear aligned with the livelihood issues of the people. The BJP had come under attack for the recurrent hike in fuel and LPG prices.

It had also drawn flak in Kerala for the Citizenship Amendment Act and the farm laws. Several influential sections had found common cause against the BJP for the NIA’s arrest of Jesuit priest Stan Swamy in the Bhima Koregaon case.

The BJP seemed mindful that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [(CPI(M)] and Congress hoped to consolidate minority votes in their favour by portraying the BJP as a Hindu majoritarian force.

The party appeared intent on garnering a lion share of the 55 per cent Hindu votes in Kerala. It also hoped to cash in on the ‘increased acceptance’ among Christians who constitute 17 per cent of the electorate. BJP State president K. Surendran had told The Hindu in May that Christians shared the party’s concern about ‘Love Jihad’ and national security. More recently, community leaders had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The BJP hoped to centre its election rhetoric around the gold smuggling case and also spotlight the ‘tacit alliance’ the CPI (M) and Congress had allegedly struck with Islamist groups.

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