Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 20 : If the BJP leadership in Kerala is to be believed, the coming Assembly elections will see a battle between the party and the CPI-M whereas the Congress will not even be a contender for power in the southern state.
"The fight is between the BJP and CPI-M; the Congress does not have any role to play in the coming elections that will usher in a 'Congress-Mukt Kerala'. We have prepared a road map for this and are working accordingly. This does not mean that we have a soft corner for the CPI-M or the Left Front. I am only saying that the fight is between the BJP and the CPI-M while the Congress is not even in the picture," BJP state President K Surendran told IANS.
BJP state General Secretary AN Radhakrishnan also told IANS: "The BJP will work for the victory of its candidates. Votes bagged by the BJP will lead to relegation of Congress nominees to third places in many segments. The electoral battle is between the BJP and the CPI-M and the Congress does not have any role in these elections." BJP sources said that the state unit of the party is trying to relegate the Congress to third spot in at least 40 Assembly constituencies. The BJP state unit has categorised the seats into 'A plus', 'A' and 'B' categories, and seats that do not offer any victory hope.
The party is expecting sure wins in five seats, a neck-and-neck race in seven other seats, and thus aims to win 10-12 seats.
As per the BJP estimates, Nemom (represented by its lone MLA), Vattiryoorkavu, Palakkad, Aranmula and Manjeswaram seats as 'sure wins', and expecting to give a tough fight in another seven seats.
In nearly 40 seats, the BJP feels it can give a run for money to both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by Communist Party of India-Marxist and Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
As per its feedback from the grass roots after the local body elections, the party is certain that it will get more than 30,000 votes in each of these seats. If the BJP gets 30,000 votes each, the Congress could be relegated to the third place, which the BJP state unit exactly wants.
In Kerala, the electoral battles in the past have always been between the LDF and UDF. The BJP is trying to carve its own political niche between the two alliances.
The state BJP has made party General Secretaries incharge of these 40 Assembly constituencies. Ten seats will be under the charge of each General Secretary. A team of party workers drawn from across the district along with a few journalists from party publications would do due diligence on the ground situation in these 40-odd seats.
The Congress will have to sweat it out for wresting power from the LDF, which is banking on minority Muslim votes even though the UDF is likely to win several seats in Indian Union Muslim League stronghold.
The upper-caste Nair voters will be split between the Congress and the BJP. It will be a major setback for the Congress as this vote bank has traditionally favoured it. With the BDJS, the Ezhava political formation that is a constituent of BJP-led NDA, there is a fairly good chance that a section of the Ezhava community will vote for the NDA in the state.
In order to garner support of a section of Ezhava voters, who majorly are with the CPI-M, the Congress is trying to field KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran, an Ezhava, in the Assembly elections.
The BJP has also begun to woo another major Congress vote bank -- the Christians -- that is indicated by recent meetings Prime Minister Narendra Modi had with Christian priests in the coastal state. With the BJP firmly in saddle at the Centre, a section of the Christian community could throw its weight behind the BJP in Kerala.