Amit Shah in Kerala: BJP is eyeing pan-India expansion following its resounding successes in recently held polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Delhi. Party president Amit Shah has taken up the responsibility to strengthen the party base in the uncharted territories for BJP like Kerala, West Bengal, and Odisha. Shah is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and a strong party base in these regions which have been dominated by opposition parties at the Centre. Shah, who is known as a tough taskmaster, visited Kerala for three days and he is not happy with the way the state unit is functioning keeping in view BJP’s electoral performance, according to Indian Express report. It has been learned that he did not allow state party chief Kummanam Rajasekharan’s powerpoint presentation to be shown during a meeting in Kochi. Though state leaders have cited the increase in vote share, but that failed to pacify Shah. Notably, BJP is locked in a battle with ruling Left in Kerala.
Underlining his view that the party has enough potential to grow in the state, Shah exhorted supporters to roll up their sleeves and work harder. Shah also set a target of a minimum of 40 per cent vote share in the state from the present 15 per cent. Shah had said the increase is essential for the party to secure victory in elections in the state. Calling for professionalism within the party, Shah had eaten breakfast at the house of a grassroots-level BJP worker.
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With a view to wooing members of the Christian community in Kerala, Shah had met the heads of the Syro Malankara, Syro Malabar and Latin Catholic churches. He held discussions over the issues being faced by them, especially the members of the fishermen community.
Shah’s Kerala visit came in the wake of the Centre’s notification banning the sale and purchase of cattle at the animal markets for the purpose of slaughter. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had opposed the move terming it as an infringement on the state’s rights. Notably, in Kerala, non-vegetarians account for over 90 per cent of the population.
Shah told the party workers, “No one should think that the notification on cattle trade is a blunder either.” The BJP chief also asked the party workers to take the achievements of the Narendra Modi government to the grassroots-level. Shah is likely to pay a visit to the state in October again in connection with party matters.