Saturday, April 11, 2009

BJP trying to achieve breakthrough in Kerala

11 Apr 2009, PTI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Undeterred by successive failures to win a single assembly or Parliament seat from Left dominated Kerala, a determined BJP is making all out effort to reverse the trend by pouring in resources and manpower to win at least two Lok Sabha seats from the state this time.

The party is engaged in hectic campaigning to win from capital Thiruvananthapuram from where high-profile Congress candidate and former UN diplomat, Shashi Tharoor is contesting besides Kasargode bordering Karnataka.

While the BJPs' state unit chief P K Krishnadas himself is in the fray in Thiruvananthapuram, the party has fielded K Surendran in Kasargode.

Struggling to achieve a breakthrough, BJP had put up its best-ever performance in the state in 2004 Lok Sabha polls during which its senior leader and former Union Minister O Rajagopal got 2.28 lakh votes but lost to CPI in a triangular contest.

The post-poll assessment of the party was that the high power campaign unleashed by it had antagonised sections of voters, especially those belonging to minority communities who rallied behind CPI candidate late P K Vasudevan Nair.

This time round, the party has decided to avoid fanfare but is reaching out to the voters in every nook and corner of the sprawling constituency.

Krishnadas says the party's high hopes are based on "a silent under current flowing through the area, which is more powerful than any visible signs".

"LDF's tie-up with PDP led by Abdul Nasser Madani and offer of support to the UDF by Popular Front (an allegedly radical outfit earlier known as NDF) has made the BJP the only alternative to the majority of voters", he claimed.

"It is the national leadership's decision that, as the state unit chief, I should lead from the front the electoral battle", Krishnadas, who is criss-crossing even the remotest hamlet on the periphery of the state capital, told reporters.

The BJP strategist also thinks that the presence of BSP's A Neelalohithadasan Nadar, who is likely to pocket a good chunk of Nadar and Dalit votes, has made it a four-cornered contest and division of votes might help the party scrape through.

"It is important to mobilise each and every party supporter and sympathizer to the polling booth and that is what we are planning to do", an RSS activist said.

In Kasargode, the party has been mounting a stretched and intense campaigning with the candidate Surendaran staying there since his candidature was cleared months before.

Though a Left bastion, the Saffron party has some roots there since its Jan Sangh days and the party's ascension in Karnataka just across the border has enhanced its confidence this time. Palakkad is another seat where BJP is expecting to do well, where former state unit chief C K Padmnabhan is working hard.

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