Christians, Hindus are victims of vote-bank politics: BJP

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(EDS: Adds details from Surendran's press conference) Thrissur (Kerala), Jan 29 (PTI): Seeking to reach out to Christians ahead of the Kerala Assembly polls, the BJP on Friday alleged that the people belonging to the second largest minority community and the Hindus in the state were victims of vote-bank politics.

Such politics, the saffron party said, is being played out by the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF.

'The Christians and the people belonging to the majority community in Kerala are equally worried. They are the victims of the vote-bank politics based on religious communalism. The BJP will try to address this problem,' BJP state president K Surendran said at the party's state committee meeting held here.

Later, Surendran told reporters that while the UDF is allegedly controlled by communal outfits like Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Jamaat-e-Islami, the ruling LDF is guided by radical organisations like the Popular Front of India (PFI).' 'Both the rival political fronts are controlled by communal forces and this will be a key campaign issue in the coming Assembly polls,' he said.

Referring to the recent meeting of three cardinals of Roman Catholic Church, including two top priests from Kerala, with Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Surendran claimed during the meeting that they had conveyed to the Prime Minister about the alleged stark discrimination being meted out to them in the state by the administration.

'Both the majority community and the Christian community are subjected to discrimination under the rule of both the LDF and the UDF, which are under the control of the Muslim communal outfits,' the BJP leader said.

Also, he lashed out at the Congress by alleging that the party-led UDF was fully under the control of the Muslim League and its major decisions are taken by Panakkad Thangal family -- the political and spiritual leaders of IUML.

Congress even changes its leader in the state as per the wishes of the Muslim League, Surendran alleged, days after the CPI(M) targeted the Congress over the alleged upperhand of the IUML in decision-making in the UDF.

The BJP leader's allegations targeting the Congress comes amid growing discontent among a section of UDF supporters in the Christian-dominated central Kerala over the growing clout of the IUML in the UDF.

Last year, the state BJP and Sangh Parivar outfits had backed the influential Syro-Malabar Church when it kicked up a debate over the alleged incidents of 'love jihad.' Against the backdrop of central agencies' investigation into the smuggling of gold and currencies allegedly through diplomatic channels, Surendran said the party would make corruption as the main plank of its campaign for the Assembly polls.

He hinted that the central agencies' probe is centered around the Chief Minister, four Ministers and the Assembly Speaker and their role would be revealed during the investigation.

Launching an attack on the state government over corruption, Surendran alleged that the state protocol department had provided special consideration for some notorious foreign citizens and those accused of smuggling of gold and dollars.

The state is in the grip of corrupt politicians, Surendran alleged.

The BJP also attacked the Congress-led UDF over the issue of corruption.

Referring to the elevation of former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy as the leader of UDF's election campaign, he said with this decision of the Congress high command, people have got an opportunity to discuss corruption during the previous Congress-led government.

Now, the people have an opportunity to compare the corruption during the previous UDF government and the present LDF government, he said.

Claiming that the BJP could perform well in the recently held civic polls, he said the party-led NDA has increased its votebase and that BJP is the one and only party which can now take on the ruling CPI(M).

In his address, BJP state in-charge C P Radhakrishnan said the party is fighting for capturing power in the Communist-ruled state.

If the BJP could oust the CPI(M) from power in Tripura, the same would happen in Kerala too, he said.

On the stand of the state government on the Sabarimala women's entry issue, Radhakrishnan alleged that the CPI(M) was trying to destroy the culture and the customs of the state.

Meanwhile, BJP state vice-president Sobha Surendran, who had reportedly complained to the party's central leadership about the functioning style of the state leadership, skipped the state committee meeting convened to discuss the matters related to the Assembly polls. PTI TGB NVG NVG