Sabarimala issue coupled with Nair vote: Can BJP make an impact in Kerala?
Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 04: In the 2014, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) finished a distant third in 19 out of the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in Kerala. However two years later, the party had its first member elected to the Kerala assembly after it won the Nemom assembly seat.
Kerala has been on the radar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for long and it has been hoping to make inroads in the state.
The question is can it make a difference in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections? The BJP is pinning its hopes in Thiruvananthapuram, which it lost in 2014 by a 2 per cent margin. However in the 2014 polls, the difference between the winning candidates and the NDA was between 20 to 30 per cent.
In the 2016 assembly elections, the BJP's vote share in the state stood at 14.9 per cent in comparison to the 38.6 per cent polled by the United Democratic Front (UDF). The Left Democratic Front (LDF) on the other hand ended up with 43.1 per cent.
For the BJP it is an important election and if it fails to better its performance, then the party would find it exceptionally difficult to stage a comeback. Technically in Kerala, the elections are between the UDF and LDF. The BJP which is looking to make inroads, would at least hope to dent the Left and if it does manage that, then it would be a huge morale booster.
The BJP would be banking on a couple of factors to strike a connect with the electorate. If the Sabarimala issue works for the party, then it could better its tally. The upper caste Nair community is supporting the BJP's stand on the Sabarimala issue. This community has traditionally voted for the Left and Congress in the previous elections.
Just ahead of the elections, the Nair Service Society had said that it would back the BJP in two seats. The BJP would hope that this support from the community would translate to other seats as well.