LS polls: BJP pins big hopes on Kerala

Inspired by the impressive show in the recent Uttar Pradesh polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is planning to spring surprises in Kerala in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

B.L. Santhosh, pracharak-turned national joint organisational secretary of the BJP, is back with a mission to win the masses by ‘striking the right chord’ in the State, as wished by party chief Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to highly placed party sources.

When contacted, Mr. Santhosh told The Hindu that the BJP would be concentrating on all 20 Lok Sabha segments in Kerala, with special attention to 11 segments from where the party could poll as many as two lakh votes each in the 2016 Assembly elections. According to top BJP sources, Mr. Santhosh is all set to be the game changer in Kerala politics, giving a technology edge to the party’s public interaction programmes in the offing.

Training in soft skills was given to party functionaries down the stream at various training camps held across the State over the past one year.

During the State Assembly elections, the party made use of SMS, social media, and other digital platforms effectively. BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan leads the party’s Twitter campaign while K. Surendran is the most popular leader of party on Facebook.

The State and district leaders of the party have been instructed to use these platforms to connect with a larger audience.

Mr. Santhosh, who is regarded as the architect of the first BJP government in South India (Karnataka) in 2008, has already started planning strategies to upset the ‘conventional’ campaign style of the Left parties and the Congress in Kerala. Recent agitations launched by the BJP such as the law academy strike, Jal Swaraj, Bharatiya Mahila Morcha’s ‘Fire Yatra’ were his ideas to win a positive public attention.

Leaving its earlier strategy of retaliation, the BJP, at the instance of Mr. Santhosh, has started channelising its cadre to focus on opposing CPI(M)’s “intolerance campaign” against the party by organising protests in major Indian cities, decrying the attacks on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-BJP workers by the ruling party in Kerala.

Manipur model

Mr. Santhosh said the minorities were happy with the BJP rule and the recent Assembly election results were a testimony to this.

He said the Christian community in Manipur, Meghalaya, and Nagaland were not at all hesitant to support the BJP.

He said the NDA State unit was intact and Mr. Rajashekharan and his team were doing a very good job.

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