NEW DELHI: BJP president Amit Shah, who had ticked off the Kerala State leadership for publishing the candidate list without the approval of the high command, has asked them to make the list more “inclusive’’ by having names of candidates from various castes and communities. He also wants more appealing names on the list.
The BJP president, who is visiting Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday, has asked the State leaders to be ready with the final list of names when he meets them. He has also asked them to be more inclusive in their approach and to have candidates from all caste and religions.
“The president want the list to have all the colours in tune with the political and social fabric of the State. Unlike other states, Kerala has a strong minority presence and the president wants the candidate list to reflect those realities,’’ said a BJP leader.
According to him, Shah wants even smaller community organisations to be given good weightage so that BJP looks more inclusive in a State where it is yet to open an account.
He has apparently also asked the State leaders to have a look at the West Bengal list, which is full of tall names, including sports persons and film actors. “He wants that the list should make the Kerala voters sit up and take notice,’’ said the BJP leader.
The BJP central leadership also wants the list to have names of minority candidates, especially Christians, in the list. The BJP president and the PM had been meeting Christian leaders, both big and small, in the run up to the elections. The last one to have met the PM was the Believers Church head K P Yohannan.
A livid Shah had last week refused to approve the candidate list that the State leaders had brought to him for approval. One reason was that the leaders had announced the names even before his vetting. Another more important reason was that the State leaders had failed to reach a consensus with the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), the political wing of SNDP, which represents the numerically powerful Ezhava community.
“We are finalising the list, which we will announce only after the Central Election Committee meeting to be held on March 25 in Delhi,’’ said one of the State leaders who was ticked off by Shah in the presence of Modi last year. The list, according to sources, will be having more women and youth faces.
Shah had given ultimatum to the State unit to settle all differences with the BDJS before Wednesday and according to State leaders, they have already reached an agreement. A strong section in the BJP leaders who were against the tie up with the BDJS had taken a strong position during the seat sharing talks and the BDJS had in turn complained to the BJP president. “Now everything has fallen in place as the State leadership was left with no option but to fall in line as Shah gave the ultimatum,’’ said the source.
Amit Shah is expected to visit Katayikonam in Thiruvananthapuram district where the CPM and the BJP cadre had clashed recently.