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With Development Work And Ram Jyoti Appeal, PM Modi Tries To Strike A Chord With Unfavourable Kerala Voters

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today addressed a gathering in Kerala’s Kochi where he lauded the people of the state for celebrating ‘Ramayan Masam’ and urged people to light ‘Ram Jyoti’ on January 22. “Shri Rama Jyoti should be lit in all houses and temples during the Dhanya Muhurta of Prana Pratishtha in Ayodhya. This message should be conveyed to all,” urged PM Modi to the people. He also asked party workers to focus on their booth saying that every booth is important. PM Modi urged the party workers to conduct contact activities with people and made them aware of the BJP government’s scheme. He also asked all Shaktikendra workers to use the Namo application to get accurate awareness of central schemes. 

Kerala, once a Congress stronghold, has shifted towards the Left for the last 10 years. The BJP is focussing on ‘development, welfare, and security’ issues to woo the voters. The BJP is already making ground among voters with PM Modi’s roadshows and events. PM Modi recently led a roadshow and a women’s rally in Thrissur on January 3. He also addressed the Nari Shakthi (Women’s Power) conference which was attended by thousands of women.

Focus On Key Lok Sabha Seats

The Kerala BJP is focussing on key Lok Sabah seats where its vote share has increased over time. Over the past three Lok Sabha elections of Thiruvananthapuram, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demonstrated its growing strength as a formidable contender. In the 2009 election, the BJP’s candidate PK Krishna Das secured a notable vote share of 11.40 per cent. Subsequently, in 2014, O Rajagopal significantly increased the party’s influence, garnering 32.32 per cent of the votes. Although there was a slight dip in electoral support in 2019, with Kummanam Rajasekharan achieving a vote share of 31.30 per cent, the BJP continued to establish itself as a robust opponent in the region.

The Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha seat, which saw agitations related to the Sabarimala temple, is again the focus of the BJP. The party’s vote share in this seat had increased from 7.06 per cent in 2009 to 15.95 per cent in 2014 and to 28.97 per cent in 2019. The BJP is also focussing on the Thrissur and Attingal seats.

BJP Customising Its Kerala Strategy

The BJP is customising itself in the state which has a significant number of Christian voters. Shifting away from the traditional strategy of catering primarily to the Hindu community, the BJP is now focusing on the electoral potential within the Christian population in Kerala. The state presents a complex religious demographic scenario, posing a unique challenge for the BJP in its electoral endeavours. Among the 33.4 million inhabitants in Kerala, Christians constitute approximately 18 per cent of the population, while Muslims make up 26 per cent.

Since the Muslim community in the state largely votes for either Congress or the Left, the BJP is looking to woo Christian voters who are not adverse to the party. Modi’s decision to visit Sacred Heart’s College went beyond merely trying to shape the perspectives of young individuals. It also aimed to portray the BJP as an inclusive party that embraces Christians and genuinely seeks the welfare of the community.

The BJP’s endeavours to establish a foothold in Kerala politics are showing tangible outcomes, as reflected in the increasing votes and endorsement from influential church figures. Another noteworthy development is the resignation of Johnny Nellore, the vice-chairman of the Kerala Congress, who has declared the formation of a new political party with backing from the Church, purportedly supported by the BJP. Also, by visiting the popular temples, PM Modi has maintained his devotion towards the religion. This will also help woo the Hindu voters. Thus, if the BJP manages to carve out a space for itself among the Hindu and Christian voters, its path will become easier. 

Development Plank

PM Modi is presenting the BJP as a party known for carrying out development work. The introduction of the Vande Bharat Express and India’s first Water Metro Service in Kochi is part of a strategic plan. Even today, when the Prime Minister visited Kerala, he inaugurated projects worth over Rs 4000 crore in Kerala’s Kochi. The three major infrastructure projects inaugurated by the Prime Minister included the New Dry Dock (NDD) at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL); the International Ship Repair Facility (ISRF) of CSL; and the LPG Import Terminal of Indian Oil Corporation Limited at Puthuvypeen, Kochi.

Highlighting the new infrastructure initiatives inaugurated today, the Prime Minister said the Central Government is working to increase the capacity of coastal cities like Kochi. He further asserted that Kochi is set to be the next ship-building hub of the nation. This will send a signal to the youth of the state that they will get better opportunities within the state instead of migrating to other places.



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