By S. Chandrasekhar
KERALA has always been a state that has voted against the national electoral verdict. While the whole nation rose as one and voted against the draconian rule of Indira Gandhi in 1977, Kerala gave all its 20 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress. Similarly, despite having the largest network of RSS shakhas, the BJP has not been able to obtain a single seat to the Legislature or to the Lok Sabha. The social, cultural and religious support to the Hindu cause could not be developed into a politically conscious Hindu vote.
But with the national trend in favour of a landslide victory for the BJP-led NDA, the situation in Kerala is also slowly changing. The constant infighting between the Antony and Karunakaran-led groups in the ruling Congress and the serious ideological differences within the CPM have made the people of Kerala think for a third alternative. Similarly, the collective bargaining capacity and pressure tactics of the Christian and Muslim organisations, who form 46 per cent of Kerala'spopulation, have been criticised by the Chief Minister A.K. Antony himself.
Be it medical colleges, engineering-colleges, nursing colleges or B.Ed colleges, lion'sshare go to these institutions. The leftovers go to the Hindus, who are divided into caste groups. This has created a feeling among Hindus for a new sense of political unity. This is where BJP fills the gap. Many right thinking intellectuals and opinion-makers among the other communities, who share the BJP'sviews, have already openly joined the BJP.
The credit for the support, the BJP is enjoying in Kerala, should primarily go to Shri O. Rajagopal, Union Minister of State for Defence and Parliamentary Affairs and now a candidate for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency.
As Railways Minister of State, he initiated unprecedented developmental activities. Track doubling, almost 20 new express trains to various State capitals, electrification and stations? development are but a few developmental activities. Similarly, as Minister of State, Urban Development, he took massive initiatives for development of most of the towns and cities of Kerala. He has done for Kerala in a short span of five years what none of the CPM or Congress MPs and governments could do for Kerala in past 50 years.
Less than two months to go for polls in Kerala, Shri Rajagopal is riding a BJP wave in the state. The wave of prominent persons who joined the BJP and want to openly campaign for it would make an interesting reading. They include famous film star Bharat Gopi, Fr. David Thomas, CSI Priest, Saraswati Gandhi, wife of Mahatma Gandhi'sgrandson Kantilal Gandhi, James Joseph, former Accountant General of Kerala, P. Sasidharan, ex-DIG of Police and others. The BJP office is flooded with applications for membership by retired bureaucrats, police officials, social workers, leading public personalities and others. They not only want to join BJP but also want work allotted for campaigning.
Various residents? associations, traders? outfits and community organisations like Brahmin Federation, an umbrella organisation of state Brahmins, have already declared their support for BJP. The powerful NSS and SNDP, controlling the dominant Nair and Ezhava communities of Hindus, are also favourably inclined towards BJP. The talk everywhere in Thiruvananthapuram is: ?This time Rajettan? (popular name of Shri Rajagopal).
Seeing the support for the BJP everywhere in Kerala, there is every possibility that BJP would increase its votes from 10 lakh to 20 lakh, i.e. a 100 per cent increase. Shri Rajagopal'svictory from Thiruvanan-thapuram will be a crown for the BJP and another stumbling blow to the crumbling Left citadel in Kerala.
Communal CPM goes Catholic
Alleppey district has been the lifeblood of the Communist Movement in Kerala since early forties. But, of late, this Red fort has started crumbling. The CPM has been consistently losing this Lok Sabha seat for the past four terms to the Congress candidate and former Speaker of Kerala Assembly V.M. Sudheeran. Even in Assembly elections, the position of the CPM became worse, as even the Chief Minister designate V.S. Achuthanandan had to face a humiliating defeat in the CPM bastion of Mararikulam in 1996. He shifted to a safe constituency in Palakkad in 2001. Now in a move that has sent shock waves among the Communist sympathisers of Kerala, the CPM has chosen as its candidate for the Alleppey Lok Sabha constituency, Dr Manoj Kurisinkal, who is the head of the youth movement of the Latin Catholic Church. Dr Kurisinkal is not a card-holding activist of the CPM and he has been chosen just to grab the votes of lakhs of Latin Catholics in Alleppey. This has created a strong reaction among the Hindu Ezhava community, who is the backbone of CPM in Kerala. They have raised a banner of revolt against his candidature. The irony and pity of the situation is that even in its stronghold of Alleppey, CPM could not project a CPM man as its candidate. Similarly, the CPM has been projecting Dr Sebastian Paul, also a Latin Catholic, as its candidate from the adjoining Ernakulam constituency. The people of Kerala have now started realising that while CPM accuses the BJP of communal politics, it itself plays caste and communal politics of the extreme for its benefit.
The new awakening in Kerala may take the BJP through.