Lok Sabha polls: Can BJP open its account in Kerala?
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Kerala, which has twenty Lok Sabha seats, has traditionally seen a direct contest between the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the CPI(M) backed Left Democratic Front.
In the 2009 General Elections the UDF swept the polls bagging 16 seats, the LDF won the rest. However, this time around the UDF, despite being in power in the state, is finding the going tough. And it is not just owing to the corruption taint on the UPA government, serious allegations of graft have also been levelled against the Oommen Chandy government, primarily the infamous and the multi-million rupee Solar Project scam. The Congress was embarrassed no end when three of Chief Minister’s personal staff were linked to main accused Saritha Nair, who along with her live-in partner, allegedly cheated many investors after promising to supply them solar panels.
Another problem that the ruling UDF faced was the Kasturirangan report which has declared parts of the Western Ghats as sensitive and recommended restricted farming there. The revelations of the report have rocked the hilly districts of Idukki and Wayanad since November last year and the state government has come under heavy attack. It was said that more than 100 villages would be affected if the report was to be implemented. Chandy was forced to raise the issue with the PM, leading the environment ministry to take a re-look at it and the report was finally cleared recently with revision. However, the CPI(M) dismissed it as just an eyewash.
In order to reap political advantage from the matter, the CPI(M) supported a candidate put up by the High Range Protection Samithi (HRPS) to contest the Idukki Lok Sabha seat. This council was at the forefront of the protests against the Kasturirangan report since it was made public.
On the other hand, the it was being said that in view of the beating that Chandy’s government had taken, the LDF should have been in a position to sweep the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. However, the prosecution of three CPI(M) office bearers along with seven others in the murder of party rebel and heavyweight leader TP Chandrasekharan in Kozhikode district in 2012 has sullied the image of the combine at the wrong time and given Congress the much needed ammunition that they were waiting for.
To be noted is the fact that in the last Lok Sabha polls, the CPI(M) had faced a backlash from the Hindu community when it had sponsored an independent in Ponnani, who had been nominated by terror case accused Abdul Nazer Madani.
Needless to say the Left are desperate for a win and want make a comeback in the Southern state. After being toppled by Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal in 2012 Assembly polls after 32 years, Tripura is their only stronghold left as of now, where they won the Assembly polls in 2013.
As per one exit poll, both the UDF and the LDF may win between 8 to 9 seats, while the other exit poll predicted that Congress combine will win 11 to 14 seats, while Left combine will win 6 to 9 seats.
Meanwhile, one exit poll has said that the BJP may open its account in Kerala. However, other exit polls have said that inspite of party`s PM candidate campaigning in the state, the BJP may not win a single seat in Kerala.
BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi did hold a well-attended rally in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram in February where he lashed out at the both the Left and Congress, urging the crowds to look for an alternative to the two. However, as things stand, most likely it will be contest between the LDF and the UDF once again in Kerala and it may take a while for the southern state to make a departure from bi-polar politics that has been its hallmark for years now.
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