Kerala Challenge: Will the BJP Take Thiruvananthapuram?
In Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, a BJP wave is visible. Does this give the party an edge?
If you take a time travel to Kerala’s electoral future, it’d probably look like today’s Thiruvananthapuram, the state’s capital city.
Why? Because of the tight tripartite contest this district is witnessing.
Since the last four decades, Kerala has been largely seeing a bipolar contest in elections. On the one side, there was the Left Democratic Front or LDF, led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M). On the other end, there was the United Democratic Front or UDF, led by the Congress party.
But, because of the rise of BJP as a third front, even seasoned political observers are finding it hard to call the contest in 14 Assembly seats of Thiruvananthapuram this year.
What the Scene Reveals
You have to see it to believe it.
Streets after streets in Thiruvananthapuram have hand-drawn wall posters of all the three fronts. It is significant because unlike printed posters, hand-drawn posters are signifiers of an active cadre. From booking the walls to getting the artists, it’s a time consuming process.
And the BJP posters indicate that there are many people to work for the party.
The NDA rapidly increased its vote share from 6 per cent in 2011 to 14.62 per cent in the 2016 Assembly elections. In Lok Sabha polls 2019, the NDA showed that it could bag enough votes to determine the winner in tightly contested Assembly pockets like the ones in Thiruvananthapuram.
The party had won one Assembly seat from Thiruvananthapuram’s Nemom constituency in 2016. In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP was also a runner-up in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.
Gearing up for the Assembly polls, the party has warmed up to the Jacobite faction of Christians, hoping to make inroads into the minority community.
Do people of Kerala really believe in the BJP’s messaging? The Quint went to the BJP’s biggest campaign rally, attended by none less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Thiruvananthapuram.
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