Based on the template of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Central leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is drawing up the contours for its State unit to fight the coming Assembly polls.
The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kochi on Sunday is for the inauguration of a slew of multi-crore projects at BPCL refinery, Cochin Port Trust, Cochin Shipyard and FACT. But it will actually sound the poll bugle of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Kerala.
PM to address meet
Mr. Modi will address a BJP core committee meeting during the visit before flying out of Kochi in the evening. Already the Central leadership has identified about 45 Assembly segments that the party is expecting a tri-cornered contest.
However, the leadership feels a gloomy prognoses about managing to retain the party’s support base in Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragod, Pathanamthitta and Palakkad districts as well as expanding its prospects in uncharted territories in Alappuzha, Kollam and Kozhikode districts.
Under the current political scenario, the Central leadership feels that the party would find the going tough even in the Nemom segment which was won by O. Rajagopal in the 2016 polls. A full-fledged strategy for the party would be unfolded only after BJP State president K. Surendran takes out the State-wide Vijay Yatra beginning February 21.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will flag off the yatra from Kasaragod. Top national BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J.P. Nadda, will participate in the rally which will culminate in Thiruvananthapuram on March 7.
45 crucial seats
A blueprint to concentrate 45 seats was based on the perception that the BJP will be a determining factor in these segments where in the previous polls the difference in the votes of the party nominees and the winners either belonging to the United Democratic Front (UDF) or the Left Democratic Front (LDF) was between 5,000 and 20,000.
Senior functionaries said that multiple view had already emerged in the party against the background of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy entering the State politics after the exit of the Jose K. Mani faction of Kerala Congress (M). A section believes that the Congress-led UDF government coming to power would mean the terminal destruction of the CPI(M) which is diametrically opposed ideologically to the BJP. Also, both the BJP and the CPI(M) bank on the votes of the Hindu community.
Another section in the BJP thinks that a second innings for the Pinarayi Vijayan-led LDF government means that many Congress leaders, in the higher and middle rung, would gradually gravitate towards the BJP, the sources said.