Rhetorics don’t matter. In politics, votes do for a party, even if it fails the people. BJP chief Amit Shah’s biggest challenge is Kerala – the state where saffron leaders have never been welcomed. Kerala has a peculiar social and population-based equations that are not fertile enough for the saffron party’s ideology to prosper.
At present, BJP is politically insignificant in the state, that boasts of highest literacy rate in the country. The party’s cadres, including those of its parent body – RSS, have been at odds with the ruling Left. The infighting within ideologies have led to many alleged political killings, prompting Shah to launch a two-week ‘padyatra’ in all state capitals from Wednesday against the CPI(M)’s alleged targeting of his party’s workers. These padyatyatras are, however, certainly not just about killings.
The BJP is aiming for upcoming important assembly elections in states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh. It needs a reason to mobilise people in favour of the party. On Tuesday, while speaking at Kannur, the home town of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Shah said the former “is directly responsible for all political murders in Kerala.” BJP says 120 Bof its workers, 84 in Kannur alone, have been killed in the state since 2001. Fourteen people were killed in Kannur since the CPI(M) came to power last year, according to PTI.
For decades, people of Kerala have voted for the Left and the Congress and no third party has been able to become a force. What ails the BJP more is the fact that its cadres are reportedly not as interested in working for the party as the latter wants them to do. Deccan Herald reported in August this year that Shah’s proposed ‘padyatra’ was postponed then as the RSS believed that BJP leaders in the state were “neither serious in their work nor committed to strengthening the party”.
In 2014, Modi wave across the country had no impact in Kerala as most of its candidates lost their deposits.
On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is also expected to visit Kerala. However, BJP stepping up political heat in the state may help polarise voters in favour of the Left and other powers like the Congress. Shah must be aware of this, and hoping to benefit somewhere else.