New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party is elated at the victory in Nagaland and Meghalaya, largely due to support from the Christian community in these states. But the saffron unit is not resting on these laurels alone. It has already set in motion a plan to replicate this success in the much-desired southern Indian state of Kerala.
A clear indication was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his victory speech from BJP headquarters in New Delhi. "I am confident that in the coming years, as it has happened in Nagaland and Meghalaya and Goa over the years, a BJP-led government will come to power in Kerala too," PM Modi said in his address at the BJP headquarters.
Apart from the BJP, its ideological parent the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh also has been eyeing the state. Despite seeking an electoral win in Kerala, the state has been elusive for the saffron front.
Over the past few years, due to the growing political friction, the state has also witnessed a spate of political killings blamed by the Left-led government and the RSS-backed organizations on each other. But the saffron front hopes that things will soon turn positive for it.
“PM Modi’s remarks on Kerala have much significance and importance. He mentioned the support from minorities in Nagaland and Meghalaya and earlier in Goa too. This change will soon be visible in Kerala too,” sources said.
The party is hoping to ally with the strong and electorally significant Christian community in the state to achieve its targeted growth. A strategic move which is somewhat similar to the one followed by the BJP in the Northeastern states.
It is learnt that the BJP is also in touch with the top clergy of various Christian denominations and mutual issues of interest like “love jihad” and demographic changes are likely to be taken up, sources said.
The party is expected to soon launch a massive outreach program to connect with the local voters in the state and make them aware of the various public welfare policies that have been implemented by the Narendra Modi government.
The BJP’s biggest task would be to take on the opposition propaganda that the saffron unit was anti-minorities. The party hopes to convince voters in Kerala that people of Goa and the Northeast have already rejected this propaganda and they should give at least one chance to the saffron unit to serve the state, sources said.
The growth of the BJP in Kerala is also expected to serve as a body blow to the Congress, which had a strong tally of 16 Lok Sabha MPs from the state in the 2019 general elections. The saffron unit would also want to hand a defeat to the scion of the grand old party who is elected to the lower house of Parliament from its Wayanad constituency.
With the BJP planning a massive expansion in South India with an eye on the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, winning Kerala will be of utmost importance for the saffron unit. The party has set a target of winning 100 seats in Lok Sabha from the five southern states of the country.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to seek a third term in 2024, the importance of Kerala in the BJP's political numbers game has increased immensely.
Kerala elects 20 MPs to the lower house of the Parliament. Of these, the BJP had been unable to secure even a seat in the state and the party wants to reverse this losing streak by opening its account in the southern state in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
BJP has so far fared poorly in Kerala's assembly elections too. O Rajagopal's triumph in the 2016 Assembly Polls from the Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram is the BJP's sole success story in the state Assembly.
Though the polls for the 140 members Kerala Legislative Assembly are scheduled for 2026, the BJP hopes to put a strong organisation in place much ahead of D-day to take on the Left and Congress successfully.