In a significant political development, PC George, the President of Kerala Janapaksham (Secular), former MLA of Poonjar assembly constituency, and once Chief Whip of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala, has joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The merger was formalised at a ceremony held at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on January 31, 2024.
Accompanying George, his son, Advocate Shaun George, and party secretary George Joseph Kakkanad also embraced BJP membership during the event. Several prominent BJP leaders, including Union Ministers Rajeev Chandrasekhar, V Muraleedharan, Prakash Javdekar, and National Secretary Anil Antony, were present during the occasion.
Reports suggest that PC George had meetings with Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP President NP Nadda during his visit to Delhi. George addressed the media, outlining his decision to join BJP, emphasising his admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s exceptional performance. He noted positive changes in the attitude of minority communities towards the BJP in the state. George stated that he would consider contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections if the BJP asked him to do so.
The merger gains significance as Kerala gears up for the Lok Sabha polls scheduled in three months and the BJP aims to expand its vote share among minorities. With approximately 18 per cent of the population being Christian, the merger strategically positions the BJP to make inroads in Kerala’s political landscape. Prakash Javdekar, while welcoming George and his party to the BJP, praised George as an excellent orator and a significant Catholic leader. He announced plans for a rally in Kerala to celebrate the merger.
V Muraleedharan highlighted the merger’s implications, stating that it dispels the malicious propaganda that the BJP is anti-minority. He suggested that the merger reflects the people of Kerala’s conviction that Narendra Modi would return to power after the Lok Sabha elections.
PC George, a seasoned politician, had a noteworthy political career, serving as an MLA from Poonjar for 33 years. In the 2016 assembly elections, he emerged victorious independently, defeating candidates from the Left Democratic Front (LDF), UDF, and NDA. In 2021, he competed independently again and faced defeat.
George commenced his political journey in the Kerala Congress, led by the late KM Mani, a party primarily catering to the Christian community. After parting ways with Mani, George’s splinter group of Kerala Congress remained in the UDF. During Oommen Chandy’s tenure as CM, George was appointed the Government Chief Whip.
While his party did not officially join the NDA, George aligned with the BJP and Hindu organisations during the Sabarimala agitations against the LDF government’s attempt to breach temple traditions. His visible opposition to the government’s actions garnered attention.
The merger assumes significance in the context of a growing concern within a section of the Christian community about rising Islamic fundamentalism. George’s alignment with BJP could impact the political dynamics in the state, especially considering his controversial stance on issues like ‘Love Jihad’ and the alleged agenda to establish a Muslim nation. Despite being labeled as an RSS sympathizer, George is acknowledged by many Keralites for his forthright and truthful communication.
The merger is awaited with anticipation as political observers in Kerala assess the potential impact of George’s alignment with BJP, particularly on the electoral equations and the party’s outreach to minority communities in the state.