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Kerala BJP upbeat after Modi rally

Kochi, Feb 10 (): BJP’s Modi rally in Thiruvananthapuram has set alarm bells ringing for ruling Congress-led UDF and CPM-led LDF.

The growing popularity of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and the silent rise in the popularity of the Aam Aadmi Party are giving scares to both the fronts as they are beginning preparations for the crucial Lok Sabha elections.

Poll observers in both the camps now feel that the LS elections in Kerala will not be just a fight between UDF and LDF and this time it will be a three-cornered battle. In Kerala, for past several decades it has been a fight between two fronts but yesterday’s rally in the capital show that the BJP is gaining strength in the southern districts and in urban areas the AAP is increasingly becoming popular.

The Congress and the CPI(M) had anticipated the challenge from BJP to be bigger than before after the entry of Modi in the polls arena but never thought the AAP could pose any threat and become yet another choice to the people who were choosing between the two fronts.

Publicly, UDF and LDF still take the stance that neither the BJP nor the AAP will be able to win a single Lok Sabha seat from Kerala but they are concerned that the presence of candidates of these parties could lead to reverses of votes in certain key constituencies, upsetting the numbers that they have made up.

The BJP till Modi’s rally in Kochi and in the capital did not boast of opening an account in Kerala but now it does believe that the presence of Modi as the PM candidate can do miracles for the party. The Kochi rally was not conducted by BJP and Modi was only the invitee for the meeting organized by a Dalit outfit. The response was not as much as in Thiruvananthapuram.

In the capital, the entire beach front was overflowing with humanity. The BJP scored a point when Natesan, the leader of the dominant Ezhava group shared the dais with Modi. A few church heads met Modi in unofficial capacity and under pressure from KC (M) an ally of Congress, the Catholic bishops’ council called off a meeting with Modi.

The BJP will put up candidates in all the 20 Lok Sabha seats but the main focus will be the Thiruvananthapuram constituency. In 2004, BJP’s candidate O Rajagopal got 2,28,952 votes while the CPI candidate who won got only 2, 86,000 votes. In subsequent elections, BJP’s vote share declined due to infighting.

Now, they see a Modi wave. Congress and Left are jittery seeing lot of youth wearing AAP caps and they fear that these voters could be game spoilers in the urban constituencies. The AAP is yet to announce its programme for the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala.