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BJP in Kerala

BJP loses in Kerala local body polls, eyes West Bengal assembly polls.

Has BJP lost Kerala before the big battle?

You win some, you lose some. But that’s a proverb. And life is a different game altogether. Politics can be trickier. Sometimes you lose but win and sometimes you win but lose. With 12 states in its kitty, and heartening results in the recent polls, the BJP is in no mood to relent, leaving no stone unturned in realising its pan-India ambition.

But the party has mountains to climb and forts to breach. And if ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala is a steep mountain then ‘Beautiful Bengal’ is no less than an impregnable fort for the party. The reason why the BJP seems to have decided to go all out for one at the cost of a wipe-out in the other. 

After a reassuring victory in Bihar and encouraging results in local body elections in Hyderabad, Rajasthan, etc., the BJP is staring at two mighty challenges, with both Kerala and West Bengal going to assembly polls next year. Interestingly, the elections are expected simultaneously, forcing a hard choice on the party: which way to go to clinch a victory.

Apparently, the BJP has chosen Bengal over Kerala on account of ‘winnability’. The choice could be strategic for the party, despite its aggressive electioneering trademark, comparing the checklists in terms of its strengths and weaknesses in the two states.

The saffron party’s expansion plan is no secret. While the rivals may call it a polarising force, persistence is the attribute behind its political surge which can’t be taken away. Its dominance in the northeast states, once an uncharted territory for the party, is a testimony to the BJP’s well-orchestrated plan of action.

Emboldened strategists in the political organisation are desperate to showcase the same skill set in the South and East, targeting Kerala and West Bengal respectively. But the ruling left parties in Kerala and the TMC in West Bengal have been giving the BJP really hard times. 

The local body poll results in Kerala is a grim reminder to the saffron party of the ground reality, even though it has improved its tally in comparison to 2015, thanks to Sabarimala protests in 2018. The Left Democratic Front led by CPM’s CM Pinarayi Vijayan secured a resounding victory despite corruption allegations, winning hearts of people with welfare progammes and governance.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front retained its second place in the polls, causing more worries for the BJP ahead of the assembly elections. Because the party needs to outdo two strong alliances in the state to fulfil the dream of forming its own govt.

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The goal is next to impossible to achieve in such a short span of time, with the BJP brass having failed to strike chords with the people and the RSS cadre eventually proving ineffective. 

Perhaps the BJP top leadership got wind of the ground reality, shifting focus in time to the Bengal battleground, leaving Kerala affair to the fate of their state leaders, who otherwise could have witnessed Hyderabad like high-voltage campaigns in Thiruvananthapuram also.

With the entire BJP Brass now turning their attention to the West Bengal assembly polls, hoping to throw Mamata Banerjee out of power, spurred on by party’s stunning performance in 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Kerala fight has taken a backseat.

The party strategists have perhaps resolved to put money on Bengal regarding the Kerala elections a lost battle.