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Faction feuds, blame game in Kerala BJP

A section of BJP central leaders said that many strategies adopted by the Kerala unit prevented the party from winning more seats and getting more than 20 per cent votes.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi | May 24, 2016 3:33:25 am
kerala, bjp, kerala bjp loss, kerala assembly elections 2016, assembly elections 2016, elections 2016, elections 2016 results, india news O Rajagopal celebrating after winning one seat in Kerala assembly elections.

Despite the hype on the party’s performance in Kerala, the state unit of the BJP seems to be simmering with discontent, with one senior leader writing to party president Amit Shah and blaming the local leadership for her defeat in the Assembly polls and another about to complain.

A section of BJP central leaders said that many strategies adopted by the Kerala unit prevented the party from winning more seats and getting more than 20 per cent votes, which, they said, the party “deserved”. They argued that ticket distribution spoiled the BJP’s prospects.

Sources said BJP state secretary Sobha Surendran has written to Amit Shah, alleging that BJP’s former Palakkad district president C Krishnakumar had worked for her defeat in Palakkad seat. Sobha did not respond to calls.

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Sources also said that former state unit president P S Sreedharan Pillai, who has reportedly expressed displeasure with non-cooperation of Kerala BJP leaders, is likely to write to the national leadership with his complaints.

Pointing out that BJP’s votes are up from 4 per cent in 2011 to 30 per cent this time in Chengannur, the seat he contested from, Pillai told the The Indian Express, “All factors were in my favour. But of 17,000 Muslim votes, 10,000 went en masse to the Left.” Pillai also said that he could have won if PM Narendra Modi had campaigned in his seat. “(But) I was not so lucky,” he added.

Several leaders pointed out that the state leadership’s strategies had boomeranged. A senior leader said: “Candidate selection in seats considered A-plus (possible winning seats) went wrong because outsiders were fielded.”

A Kerala BJP leader said the party had refused ticket to leaders such as Ashok Kumar, a popular corporator in Thiruvananthapuram, and instead made cricketer Sreesanth, who belongs to Ernakulam district, contest from the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram central constituency.

There were also murmurs over the way the party “flaunted” Vellappally Natesan, the leader of SNDP Yogam, parent organisation of NDA ally Bharat Dharma Jena Sena. “This irked leaders of NSS (an outfit of Nairs),” the leader said.

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