Thiruvanathapuram: On the eve of April 21, just before the culmination of the campaign for the third phase of elections, around 2000 lamps floated in the holy river Pampa at the heritage village of Aranmula akin to that of Ganga Arathi in Varanasi. Though it was organized by the activists of Sangh Parivar, the BJP candidate was absent, thus establishing no direct link to the party.
The ritual became a silent invocation to the voters in Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha seat which houses Sabarimala, where the BJP was engaged in a fierce battle against CPM and Congress, and a subtle message on its importance that the party considers it in the same spirit with the other LS seat on the banks of another holy river, Varanasi. This was one among the hundreds of activities of the BJP led-NDA which made it a strong force in at least 10 seats of the state.
Meet, BJP national secretary Y Satya Kumar, the low profile national secretary and Prabhari (in charge) of Kerala. Undoubtedly, it was an uphill task for anyone from BJP to make the 'lotus bloom' in the only state in India with more than two seats which did not send any of its members to Lok Sabha. Moreover, four decades of bipolar politics coupled with the demographic distribution of nearly 45 per cent of minorities made his task arduous.
A native Andhra Pradesh, Satya knows the nitty-gritty of the state. He was personal secretary to the present vice president Venkaiah Naidu when he was heading BJP.
According to party functionaries and even outsiders who paid a visit to Satya had listened to them patiently. This was much needed for the party in Kerala as it had less friends than it needs. Satya along with Nirmal Surana, joint coordinator of the state made a five-fold system for the campaign. The duo studied the situation, planned activities, implemented them on time, reviewed it and made follow-ups if needed.
They linked the activities of the RSS and the BJP. "Satya had a keen eye for minute things. For example, Alappuzha. The party had the second lowest percentage of votes in 2014 Polls. After a while, he learned that the candidate Dr KS Radhakrishnan is getting a good response from the voters much above the expectations. Satya quickly took the services of a veteran RSS functionary who has a piece of thorough knowledge about the constituency," says a senior RSS activist.
Though there was much confusion in the distribution of seats in the state, the man in charge was cool. “The candidature at Thrissur changed more than twice before actor Suresh Gopi came to the scene. However, it did not affect any of the activities in the seat as well as the cadre. Satya played a crucial role in this," said senior BJP leader.
With his robust style, the party could dwell deep into more than 50 assembly segments in state. Hence, one thing is certain. BJP had big plans for the state than the 2019 LS elections. It is eying at the 2021 assembly elections and it will be a battle for Kerala.