The byelection to five Assembly segments will help the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerge as a key player in the State’s politics as the organisation has succeeded in dispelling the notions infused by the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF)among the minority communities and others, says BJP State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai.
Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Pillai says the party will no more be deemed as a third force, but as potential enough to wrest its political space in the State.
“The presence of four Bishops at the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi within a notice of 24 hours is a pointer to the shift in the State’s political preferences. The BJP is no more an anathema to any community. The minority communities have got rid of the paranoia infused by our political rivals and that will reflect in the byelections,” he says.
Mr. Pillai feels that all community organisations are entitled to profess their views and opinions on all issues, including support for parties or fronts in elections, and that would not have any bearing on the electoral prospects of the BJP.
He dismisses as baseless reports that the party has ranked Vattiyurkavu, Konni and Manjeswaram as three segments where the party has pinned more hopes than Aroor and Ernakulam.
“The BJP has been consistently raising its tally in all segments and theories of such ranking are unfounded. We have got 47,000 votes in Vattiyurkavu in 2016. Our vote share in Chengannur byelection went up from 8,000 to 42,000, without the support of the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) and a similar increase can be seen in almost all segments. Then where is the need to concentrate on three and leave the other constituencies? This is proof of the growth rate and the current byelection will bring about a notable change,” he says.
Mr. Pillai terms the row over BJP candidate selection for Vattiyurkavu as a conspiracy hatched to erode the self-confidence of the cadre, a pre-emptive strike to spoil its prospects ahead of the launch of electioneering.
“If the CPI(M) State committee reserves the right to select its candidates from a panel, why should the BJP alone be deprived of the same right? The central parliamentary board makes the choice after considering a variety of factors, including community balance, through a standard procedure. Challenging it is unfair,” he says.