Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Guruvayur visit and his address to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers after the darshan at the Sreekrishna temple on Saturday are being elucidated as a strategy to gain ground in the State by reiterating that the national leadership will not shy away from its task of fortifying the organisation in the wake of the reversal it had suffered in the Lok Sabha election.
By clarifying that the party will reach out to even those who did not vote for it in the election and also that party workers, unmindful of the poll outcome, will pursue their given tasks, Mr. Modi is making it clear that the BJP will go ahead with its plans to enhance its presence in the State Assembly and also in local bodies.
The innuendos directed against the State government for allegedly failing to make use of the Central government’s health insurance scheme Ayushman Bharat Yojana is being seen as a hint that the Centre and the BJP will not spare any opportunities to put the State government in the dock.
Soon after the address, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac clarified in New Delhi that the State government, despite its differences of opinion over the pattern of the scheme, had taken the lead to implement it, but the procedures could not be completed since the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha election was in force. This seems to be just a precursor to the war of words between the Central and the State governments on a whole gamut of issues in the offing.
Such posturing seems to be quite significant since byelections in six Assembly seats, including Vattiyurkavu in Thiruvananthapuram and Manjeswaram in Kasaragod that are being billed as the bastions of the BJP, are due within the next few months. All the three fronts, the Left Democratic Front, the United Democratic Front and the National Democratic Alliance have much at stake in the bypolls.
Mr. Modi laid due accent on the pilgrim tourism projects worked out for the State and conceded to the demand to form an exclusive Ministry for Fisheries at the Centre. Whether these projects will be routed through the State government and its agencies or will be executed directly by those agencies identified by the Centre is what remains to be seen.