news Monday, January 05, 2015 - 05:30
Siddharth Mohan Nair| The News Minute| September 2, 2014| 8.15 pm IST The hartal declared by the RSS and BJP in Kerala has turned out to be largely successful. Apart from stray incidents of violence like pelting of stones at buses in few places, the hartal was quite peaceful for most part of the day. The shops remained shut, roads were empty, educational institutions remained close and exams scheduled for the day were postponed.  The hartal was declared by the RSS yesterday evening in protest of the murder of its member Manoj Kumar in Kathirur in the Kannur district of the state. Four persons have been taken into custody by the police. Malayala Manorama reports that in Kannur district, where the murder took place, bombs of low intensity were hurled at shops, but no one was injured. Stones were pelted on some CPM offices and a memorial of later LEft leader and former Chief Minister E K Nayanar. Crude bomb was hurled at a BJP worker's house in Kannur. Kerala is a bastion that the BJP/RSS combine is yet to make a mark on. So how did they manage to shut down the entire state for a day? The success of the day-long hartal can be attributed to many factors. Right from the time of the declaration of the general election, the BJP had conducted massive membership drives in Kerala. Though the party could not even win a single seat from here, it rejuvenated the party at all levels in the state and also got scores of new members. The dedicated band of members ensured that the hartal remained successful. They could be spotted in all major junctions protesting against the murder of their colleague. Some years ago, the BJP’s limited influence was restricted to certain districts, but now it has considerable amount of members in most districts of the state. The fact the BJP President Amit Shah and the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat was in the state also made the members work with greater levels of energy to ensure all success.  But the success of the hartal cannot be solely attributed to the BJP and RSS’ membership drive, the fear factor also played a crucial role. That the hartal was declared in protest of a political murder, people remained scared to get out of their homes. Had the protest been declared for a less serious issue, such a success perhaps could perhaps not have been witnessed. Hartals are not new to the people of Kerala. Considered as a general day off from usual work, people in the state have accepted it as a way of life in the state. Kerala in all its sense is a hartal friendly state and years of conditioning has trained Keralites to stay at home during hartals, especially in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. Finally, its success can also be attributed to the fact that it was declared by the RSS and supported by BJP, the party in power at the centre.  Talking heads in the state are fervently discussing about the reasons for the BJP/ RSS being able to bring the state to a standstill, whatever the reasons be, this is just the beginning for the party.

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