Kerala, Apr 23, 2019 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is looking to upset equations in Kerala’s bipolar politics dominated by the Left bloc and a Congress-led coalition, focusing on the Sabarimala issue that has been the mainstay of its campaign, Hindustan Times reported.
All 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state will vote on Tuesday. Congress president, Rahul Gandhi, who is contesting from north Kerala’s Wayanad, apart from his party’s traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, is among the heavyweights in the fray.
Rahul Gandhi’s candidature and the BJP’s Sabarimala campaign shone the spotlight on the southern state in the election season, which has witnessed high-profile poll rallies involving top leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Gandhi and his sister and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, among others. At least half of the seats in the state could see a three-cornered fight, poll analysts say. In 2014, the Congress coalition got 12 and the Left bloc got eight seats.
The BJP’s strategy is focusing on gaining mileage from the Sabarimala stir that erupted after the Supreme Court, in September 2018, scrapped a centuries-old ban and allowed entry of women devotees of menstruating age into the shrine in the Western Ghats.
While the ruling Left Front said it was committed to implementing the top court order, the BJP backed traditionalists who supported the ban and took to the streets in protest. The BJP will hope for the consolidation of Hindu votes to gain a foothold in southern and central Kerala.
BJP state president, PS Sreedharan Pillai, said “it [Sabarimala] is a golden opportunity and the party will use it to its hilt”.
The ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist), faced with the Sabarimala protests, appeared displeased with Congress’s announcement that Gandhi will contest from Wayanad.
“It seems Left parties are his main enemy, not the BJP,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said after Gandhi’s candidature was announced.
Congress leader, Ramesh Chennithala, said, “No doubt that Rahul’s entry will have a ripple effect in all the 20 seats.”
Senior journalist and poli