May 3, 2021 4:20:12 am
FAR from winning at least half-a-dozen seats as it claimed it would do, the BJP ended with a duck in Kerala, losing even Nemom that it had won in 2016. Moreover, unlike last time when it ended up second in seven constituencies, it managed that mark in only five.
The Nemom win had been positioned as a stepping stone for the BJP into Kerala’s politics. The party had also hoped to make gains by playing up the controversy over the Sabarimala temple entry issue, targeting the Hindu vote. However, it got only around 11% of the votes, around the same as 2016, and a drop from its 2019 Lok Sabha count.
Among the big losers was BJP state president K Surendran, who could win neither of the two constituencies he contested from, Konni or Manjeshwar.
The much-publicised Metro Man E Sreedharan, a self-proclaimed chief ministerial candidate, put up a fight till the last round of counting in Palakkad constituency but eventually lost.
In Kazhakootam constituency, party candidate Sobha Surendran lost to Temple Affairs Minister Kadakampally Surendran, despite the latter bearing the Sabarimala heat.
During the campaign, CPM CM-candidate Pinarayi Vijayan had stated that while five years back the BJP had opened its account in Nemom, “this time, we will close that account and the BJP’s vote share will go down’’.
On Sunday after CPM candidate V Sivankutty defeated the BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan in Nemom, Vijayan noted, “BJP leaders even said the party would form the government without getting a majority.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself raised Sabarimala issue in his campaign, reciting Ayyappa chants.
The poor show of the BJP in Kerala is likely to trigger unrest in the state unit. The RSS had been directly involved in campaigning in several constituencies. A party leader said the result showed Kerala does not accept the new BJP leadership.
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