BJP’s prominent candidates — ‘Metroman’ E Sreedharan, K Surendran, Kummanam Rajasekharan and Suresh Gopi — lost the election in Kerala.

Collage of Kummanam Rajasekharan E Sreedharan and Suresh Gopi
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Sunday, May 02, 2021 - 20:00

Kerala has firmly said no to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2021 Assembly election as the national party has failed to win a single seat and has been unable to retain its only seat in the state. The party, which is ruling the country, has not won a single Assembly seat out of all the 140 in the state in the Assembly Election. The lone seat they had won in 2016 – Nemom – too has been lost.

Despite a high decibel campaign revolving around Sabarimala, religious sentiments, ‘love jihad’, Hindu consolidation and gold smuggling scam — not even the top leaders of the BJP managed to win, with the state President K Surendran losing from two seats.

Though the BJP had publicly claimed that they will win 10-20 seats, many leaders had told TNM that Amit Shah had instructed that the party should win at least four seats this time. But the BJP has been unable to do so and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s words that the BJP’s account will be closed in Kerala have come true.

E Sreedharan alias the ‘Metroman’, whose candidacy had generated a lot of interest during the election campaign, lost by more than 3,800 votes. Sreedharan was the only BJP candidate who managed to maintain a lead in most rounds of counting. He had a lead of over 5,000 votes at one point over the sitting Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Shafi Parambil of the Congress party. But towards the end of counting, his lead fell and gradually Shafi picked the lead. 

In Nemom, from where the BJP’s veteran leader O Rajagopal had won last time, it was Kummanam Rajasekharan, former state president of the party, contesting this year. He too had a lead of one to two thousand votes in earlier rounds. However, this suddenly fell in the later rounds of counting and V Sivankutty, CPI(M) leader who was earlier the MLA of Nemom, won with a lead of a few thousand votes. Since Nemom was the one seat where the BJP made a victory in 2016, all three fronts fielded strong candidates this year. The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which had fallen to a distant third place in 2016 brought its Member of Parliament K Muraleedharan to fight. However he too fell to the third place in 2021. 

K Surendran, the BJP chief in Kerala, contested from two seats — Konni (Pathanamthitta) and Manjeshwar (Kasargod) — both of which he lost. In Konni, the CPI(M)’s candidate Adv KU Jenish Kumar won while in Manjeshwar, it is Indian Union Muslim League’s AKM Ashraf that won. Surendran emerged as a prominent face of the BJP during the Sabarimala protests of 2018, when the party opposed the Supreme Court's verdict allowing women's entry in Lord Ayyappa Temple. He has since been the aggressive face of the party leading many protests against the ruling LDF. 

Read: Kerala BJP chief K Surendran loses Konni and Manjeshwar, Sabarimala plank fails

Another constituency of interest was Thrissur where Malayalam film actor and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Suresh Gopi contested for the BJP. He had in the Lok Sabha election of 2019 made a speech about “snatching” Thrissur away during a campaign. The actor was ridiculed for the statement after his loss. However, he had a lead of over a thousand votes for a long time during counting day. It was much later that the LDF candidate P Balachandran took over the lead and won the seat.

Despite these losses, the BJP can be relieved that in several constituencies, they have come in second place including in Thiruvnanthapuram’s Kazhakuttom where Sobha Surendran contested from. The BJP received 10.6% vote share in 2016 which it has increased 11.6% this time.

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