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In Kerala, BJP finds its vote share falling to historic low

What has hurt the BJP the most is their vote percentage falling from 15.01% in the 2016 Assembly polls to a mere 11.30% in 2021

Monday May 3, 2021 12:40 PM, IANS

Why BJP lost in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has gone into a shell as the election results have shaken the rank and file of the party, especially the youthful state party president K. Surendran. Nothing that he claimed came true, and on the contrary the election saw not only the vote share dip, but also the only seat that the BJP had in 2016, was lost.

The Nemom seat in the capital city district which was won by veteran BJP leader O.Rajagopal was lost to the CPI-M leader V.Sivankutty, who defeated former BJP state president Kummanem Rajashekeran.

What has hurt the party and has come as a shocker is their vote percentage saw a fall from 15.01 per cent in the 2016 Assembly polls to a mere 11.30 per cent after votes were counted on Sunday to the 140-member Kerala Assembly.

Incidentally in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, even though it drew a blank and the best that they could manage then was to come a second in the prestigious Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, they secured 15.53 per cent votes.

If there is any solace for them in the present polls is they managed to come second in nine constituencies. But definitely the state leadership will have to do a lot of answering, as Surendran himself contested in two seats and he had claimed that for the BJP this could well be a landmark election with more number of seats.

A media critic, however, said this has turned out to be a watershed election for the BJP.

"There are some serious issues in the party here and apart from being a divided house, there are hardly any second line leaders in the party, unlike other national parties in the state. The handful of the leaders presently at the top are the same faces that all have been seeing for close to the past nearly two decades," said the critic who did not wish to be identified.

On the drop in the vote share of the BJP, the Left Democratic Front convenor and acting secretary of the CPI-M, A. Vijayaraghavan said the dip in the BJP's vote share has happened which was a huge help to the Congress in some constituencies.

But Leader of Opposition, Ramesh Chennithala when asked about it said:

"From the first reports, it is the Left which has benefitted, especially in the capital district. But, we will be able to say with more precision only after a detailed assessment."

Surendran, however, said he would speak later after an assessment.

The BJP has also not been able to cobble up a credible alliance as the second biggest ally was the five year old BDJS, a party which has the blessings of Vellapally Natesan, the powerful general secretary of the Hindu Ezhavas socio-cultural body SNDP.

BDJS is led by Natesan's son Tushar Vellapally and in the constituencies they contested there has been a huge erosion of votes as compared to the 2016 polls.

"The fall of the BJP is definitely good for the Congress party. For, had they done well and had got a few seats, as was often said in the state, the BJP can strengthen only if the floodgates in the Congress party is open. So for the time being the Congress party can heave a sigh of relief that no sensible Congress leader from any segment will jump the fence to the BJP," added the critic.

Incidentally, the BJP this time cut a sorry figure, even before the campaign got into top gear, when two of their candidates nomination papers from Thalassery and Guruvayoor constituencies was disqualified by the returning officer as they were found invalid, and opponents took to the social media in a big way making fun of the national party.

So the coming days and weeks are going to be crucial for the state leadership of the BJP and it remains to be seen if heads will roll.

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