Kerala state BJP President Kummanam Rajasekaran was in Bengaluru on Sunday to hold a strategy meeting with the Malayali social media team ahead of the Kerala polls. The RSS pracharak who had taken over the reins of the state BJP said he believes social media will play a pivotal role in the elections given the increasing number of social media users even in the rural areas.
Speaking to The News Minute, the senior leader said that the BJP would only concentrate on issues of development policies and not harp on the Hindutva agenda.
“There is no hard-line Hindutva agenda. We will only fight on issues of development,” he said.
The BJP incidentally has never won from a single Lok Sabha or assembly seat from the state, but the BJP president was brimming with confidence. When asked whether they hoped to open their account by winning seats in districts like Thiruvananthapuram or Palakkad, he said, "Not only Palakkad, we will win 71 plus seats in Kerala. I am telling you we are confident."
The state is scheduled to vote on May 16 to elect a new 140-member Legislative Assembly. The BJP hopes to make its Assembly-entry in the state which gave India its first Left government in 1957.
Power in Kerala has alternated between the United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress and the Left Democratic Front led by the CPI(M).
BJP, which has failed so far to break the bi-polar politics of UDF and LDF, has this time found a political ally in the Bharath Dharam Jana Sena.
The BDJS is a new party formed by Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, a powerful organisation of backward Ezhava community, led by its General Secretary Vellappally Natesan.
Kumanam spoke positively about the NDA’s alliance with BJDS. “It will widen the voter base of the NDA. However, details of seat sharing are a subject of future discussions.”
Though the BJP has been targeting a ‘United Hindu alliance’ in the state, the Nair Service Society has repeatedly rejected the idea. On the NSS’ reluctance to a so-called Hindu alliance, Kummanam said that was not a point of concern as unlike the BJP, the NSS was only a social organization and its stand has no political ramifications.
On the contentious issue of beef, “The state BJP has not said anything about it and you won’t hear anything from our side on this issue.”
The Kannur district of Kerala has been witnessing violent incidents, with BJP and CPI (M) blaming each other for unleashing terror. Kummanam however maintains BJP has no role in the violence.”It is the Marxists who do not have any ideology and want to control the state politics with muscle," he said.
Just like the Congress and the communists, the BJP too has been facing issues of factionalism. Though Kummanam’s appointment was meant to quash some of the factions, local media reports suggest that the dissatisfaction has only grown.
“I am not aware of any rival factions within the party. Only outsiders with vested interests say that there is infighting in the BJP. Some in the opposition say I am a new face in the BJP, but I am well known for my social activities. I was not an office bearer of the BJP, but of the RSS, I have been accustomed to the principles of the BJP. It was the decision of the national leadership to promote me as the state president.”
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, for the first time, BJP's vote share touched double-digit -- at 10.83 per cent, up from 6.03 per cent in the 2011 Assembly polls.
In the 2011 Assembly polls, the BJP had contested 139 of the 140 seats, finishing runners up in three Assembly constituencies with each of the three candidates getting more than 40,000 votes. In the rest of the constituencies, the party had finished third with poor vote counts.
In the upcoming Assembly elections, the BJP has decided to field all its top leaders, including 86-year-old former Union minister of state O Rajagopal.