BJP state unit has an ambitious poll target in Kerala, but leadership not convinced

The 2015 local body poll saw BJP winning close to 1,500 wards and assuming power in around 15 panchayats and one municipality. 
BJP Flags (Photo | PTI)
BJP Flags (Photo | PTI)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Winning a minimum of 8,000 wards and wresting power in over 200 three-tier civic bodies. This is the result the BJP state unit expects in the upcoming local body poll. But with the ongoing factional feud still unresolved, the party’s top brass at the Centre is doubtful of the state unit achieving the electoral target. 

According to a top party source, the state unit had attempted to convince Union Home Minister Amit Shah to kick off the party’s local body poll campaign in Kerala. Shah is also a member of the BJP parliamentary board, the party’s apex decision making body. But despite Shah being in Tamil Nadu on a two-day visit to seal an alliance with the AIADMK, he reportedly ignored the Kerala unit’s invite. 

Sources said the state unit has exuded confidence of winning around 8,000 local body wards, wresting over 190 panchayats, 24 municipalities and also the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation.

The 2015 local body poll saw the party winning close to 1,500 wards and assuming power in around 15 panchayats and one municipality. 

However, its failure to achieve earlier targets seemed to have weighed heavily on the central leadership’s mind. The BJP state unit had claimed it would win at least five parliamentary seats in the previous Lok Sabha polls prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to campaign extensively in the state. Barring Thiruvnanthapuram, the party finished third in all other constituencies.  

Besides, the party’s Kerala ‘prabhari’ (in-charge) C P Radhakrishnan is understood to have appraised Amit Shah directly about the burning factional issues in Kerala. He has reportedly told Shah that the dissidence issue was poised to hamper the party’s electoral prospects. 

‘No-compromise attitude’

As per earlier plans, a meeting of the party’s state core group was to be convened immediately after the state office-bearers’ meet held in Kochi on Friday. It is learnt that state president K Surendran is not in favour of convening the core group meet as majority of the members, including past presidents, are opposed to his style of functioning.

Meanwhile, it is also learnt that a meeting of the V Muraleedharan camp was held immediately after the office-bearers’ meet. It reportedly resolved to ignore the demands of dissidents, including Sobha Surendran, thereby prompting them to leave the party.

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The New Indian Express