BJP’s Impressive performance
By Tiki Rajwi – THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Going by the one element in an election that matters – a win – the BJP simply failed to connect in Neyyatinkara. Nonetheless, the saffron party’s performance in the caste-driven southern constituency is impressive on a number of counts. Firstly, the sheer number of votes pocketed by O Rajagopal, 30,507, catapulted the BJP’s vote percentage in Neyyatinkara from a measly six per cent in 2011 (6,730 votes) to an awe-inspiring 23 per cent in the June 2012 by-election.
When the last vote had been counted and the battle lost and won, the BJP stood first in 22 booths, seven in the Athiyannoor panchayat and 15 in the municipality area. Pushed to the third spot, the battle-wizened former Union Minister’s presence, however, stunted the majority of UDF’s R Selvaraj, the victor.
“It could have been better, but we are satisfied with what we got. Isn’t there a five-fold increase in our votes? We did not have alliances, we fought alone. Pitched against us was an entire government machinery,” Rajagopal said accusing the UDF of misusing state machinery to ensure a win.
The BJP was expecting its kitty to hover around the 35,000 mark, but that simply was not meant to be. BJP state president V Muraleedharan offers reasons: “We got a lot of the LDF votes, but the UDF was able to stem the flow of its own votes to the BJP with its aggressive campaign using the murder of RMP leader T P Chandrasekharan.”
Three factors helped the BJP scramble up the vote ladder according to him; the party’s robust organisational set-up, Rajagopal’s unmatchable persona and the curious political situation that existed in Kerala ahead of the by-election.
And two factors helped Selvaraj win, he added; support from the loyalists of V S Achuthanandan and the consolidation of Christian nadar votes. Muraleedharan juggles with more figures.
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