Confident Hindu Nationalist Party – BJP ventures into Kerala’s red pockets

1361513665_bjp-logo_52The RSS’s legwork and a changing political culture in Kannur has encouraged the BJP to campaign in CPM strongholds that the Sangh Parivar had considered out of bounds until recently.

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Kannur district, which straddles the Kannur and Vatakara seats, has several red bastions where the BJP was not allowed to enter. Even on polling day, CPM musclemen would allow only its men as booth agents. This time, BJP has gone from door to door in these CPM pockets without any friction. “As part of decision at national level, the RSS has decided to toil for BJP. But in Kannur, RSS work assumes significance considering that the organisation has helped the BJP to take its campaign to places hitherto unreachable. Our presence has given the BJP courage. We have not faced any protest from CPM cadres,’’ said RSS taluk karya vahak P P Shaji.

Last week, RSS men went on house visits at Muzhakkunnu panchayat, where the BJP had never been allowed to campaign in decades. In 1999, a BJP campaign vehicle had strayed into a territory of the CPM and was waylaid and the announcer, a BJP worker, not allowed to go until he openly sought votes for the CPM candidate.

Although the RSS is campaigning in red bastions of Kannur, the BJP has not gone to the extent of erecting campaign materials or party flags. “Only step by step can the party increase its presence in CPM areas. We cannot create a situation that may trigger tension,’’ said BJP district leader P Chandran.

Chandran said the BJP would have agents in almost all booths in CPM areas. “In 2009, we had agents at only 54 booths at Peravoor. This time, the BJP will have agents in 117 booths out of 131. RSS backing will help the BJP activists overcome the fear of CPM,” he said.

Another factor that has contributed to the BJP’s confidence is the public apathy towards violent politics and tension associated with it. Decades of political killings had impacted life in the region. “We don’t want to go back to the violent days. Some 40 BJP, RSS men are in jail, convicted of political murders,’’ said Chandran.

Source: Indian Express