The Bharatiya Janata Party's stand in the Sabarimala issue trying to protect the tradition of the famed temple will in turn help the saffron party open its account in the Lok Sabha from Kerala, a top party leader said. The BJP-led NDA has over the years increased its vote share in the state and this time there has been a huge morale booster following its Sabarimala stand, also Prime Minister Narendra Modi's twin visit in January has injected the ground level workers with a new found energy, State BJP President P.S. Sreedharan Pillai told IANS.
Everyone in the party feels this time banking on the strong protest that the BJP and the sangh parivar forces launched against the Supreme Court verdict allowing women of all ages to enter the Lord Ayyappa shrine since November will reap rich dividends. They are expecting to put up their best-ever performance, the BJP leader said. "You just wait and see the position that we took in the Sabarimala issue will certainly bring a huge difference in the political scenario in Kerala.
"It's during election time that the people will make their decision and we are hugely confident," said Pillai. In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had a vote share of 10.33 per cent, which went up to 15.10 in the 2016 Assembly elections. One poll survey has even predicted they would open their account in the Lok Sabha winning one of the 20 seats. O. Rajagopal in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls had come second from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance has already completed one round of seat distribution talks. The Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), the second biggest ally of the alliance has sought eight seats and the Kerala Congress (Thomas) one. The final round of talks is scheduled for later in February. Pillai said a broad understanding has been reached among the allies. "However, I am unable to reveal more on the list, as it has to be done at the national level. But we have more or less finished our job," added the leader keeping his cards close to his chest.
All their tested faces will be fielded, except for O. Rajagopal. The 89-years-old had won from the Nemom assembly seat becoming the first ever BJP MLA in Kerala in 2016. The most likely faces to be fielded can include former state party presidents -- P.K. Krishna Das and C.K. Padmanabhan, senior party leaders like Sobha Surendran, K. Surendran, A.N. Radhakrishnan, M.T.Ramesh, P.M. Velayudhan, B.Gopalakrishnan among others.
Former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair is also being considered, according to party leaders. Besides, superstar Mohanlal, who was given the Padma Bhushan. Although those close to the superstar have denied the news. Others include Union Minister of Tourism, K.J.Alphons, former state BJP president, V. Muraleedharan, who is now a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra. Besides superstar Suresh Gopi, who is already a Rajya Sabha member. BJP might go with all its tried and tested faces to make it big in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
(With inputs from agencies.)