KOCHI: Despite its aggressive campaigning exploiting the discontent among the Ayyappa devotees against the CPM stand on Sabarimala issue, the BJP failed miserably to open its account in the state yet again.
In 2014, the BJP had lost Thiruvananthapuram constituency by a slender margin of 15,530 votes. With the Sabarimala sentiments triggering a Hindu vote consolidation in south and central Kerala, BJP had fielded former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan here, hoping to win the seat with a comfortable majority.
Though the party’s vote share increased from 2,82,336 in 2014 to 3,13,925 this time, the percentage of votes plummeted from 32.45 per cent to 31.28 per cent. Congress candidate Shashi Tharoor’s victory with a margin of one lakh votes has in fact shocked the BJP leadership in the state.
In Pathanamthitta, where BJP candidate M T Ramesh had secured 1,38,954 votes in 2014, the party polled 2,97,396 votes.
Though there was an increase of 112 per cent in vote share it was not sufficient to win the seat. The party was hoping to win Pathanamthitta, riding on the strong sentiments among the Hindu community, who were hurt by the Sabarimala incident. Congress candidate Anto Antony polled 37.11 per cent votes to win the seat, while CPM candidate Veena George secured 32.8 per cent votes. BJP candidate K Surendran finished a distant third with 28.97 per cent votes.