What can the Yogis and Biplabs do in a politically sensitive state like Kerala? The star campaigners of the BJP in the upcoming Assembly bypoll in Chengannur constituency are ridiculed and viewed with typical cynicism by the non-BJP populace. Both have been the butt of trolls and cartoons in the media.
So why bother to parade them and hold road shows? Well, the answer is simple. They may not be able to swing votes big time, on the contrary they might even trigger a minority consolidation, but as heroes and winners for the party in their respective strongholds, their words and presence can inspire the BJP cadre.
They might have sparked guffaws with slapstick outbursts. But in trolling these poster boys of the BJP, the Leftists have also ensured a fair share of publicity and familiarisation of these outsiders.
In a state which is the proverbial last frontier for the BJP, the presence of these leaders could go a long way in instilling self-belief in party men who have been stonewalled by the sweeping observation — ‘you can’t win Kerala’.
Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb wasted no time in taking on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPM once he landed at Chengannur.
After drawing parallels between Kerala and Tripura in food, culture and climate, he pointed out one difference. “Tripura is now ruled by the BJP and Kerala by the CPM, which is why development refuses to take a peep at the state.”
“Rahul Gandhi and Pinarayi Vijayan shared the dais in Bengaluru. Why are they fighting each other here? Both are fooling the people. Modiji does not do that.”
Organisers of Biplab’s local tour program were careful not to overexpose him to the media for extensive grilling. In the short media interaction, he sought to score a brownie point, announcing Rs 5 lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund for the family of Sreejith, who died in custody. He blasted the Kerala CM for refusing to visit Sreejith’s house.
He compared Pinarayi Vijayan to Manik Sarkar. “Vijayan refused to visit the house of the victim who is from the backward class. Manik Sarkar also refused to visit the victims of atrocities in Tripura, mostly from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe. Both of them are scared of media exposure and the questions that may arise.”
“Sarkar led Tripura CPM to disaster, Vijayan will do the same to the Kerala CPM. We managed to win with 1.5 percent vote share. You already have 16 percent votes. We managed to drown them in 1.5 feet of water. You have 16 feet of water to drown them in. You can…” he exhorted local party men.
With these roadshows and parades even for a bypoll, the BJP is also sending out a strong message — ‘We are serious about Kerala’.
Meanwhile, CPM candidate Saji Cheriyan pounced on the opportunity to pronounce that the contest is a strong triangular one and that the BJP would emerge as runner-up. This contradicts the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), which claims the contest is a direct one between the UDF and the LDF, and that the BJP is not in the picture.
Saji Cheriyan is obviously fishing for minority consolidation in favour of the Left in the wake of a strong challenge from the Sangh Parivar front. It remains to be seen whether he played his card too early and if it would boomerang.