Today News Online Service
New Delhi, January 3
BJP president JP Nadda is in Kerala to launch NDA’s campaign for upcoming Assembly elections in the state, expected to be his most difficult assignments among the poll-bound states this season.
Sources though say Nadda has managed a “patch up” between warring factions of Kerala BJP and also affected a “strategic tweak” in party’s plan to do better than the last elections when it won just one Assembly seat.
Apparently, Nadda “with the help of Mizoram Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai” has managed to iron out differences between rival factions led by Union Minister V Muraleedharan and former state BJP president PK Krishnadas with a “compromise formula”.
According to the “formula”, Rajya Sabha MP and Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V Murlaleedharan may contest from the Kazhakkuttom constituency, which he lost last time by around 5,000 votes.
Sreedharan Pillai will help Muralidharan get the crucial Nair votes.
Muralidharan, who is Ezhava by caste, is expected to face CPM’s Ezhava leader Kadakampally Surenderan, who won from the constituency last time.
Meanwhile, once Muralidharan gets elected to the Assembly, his Rajya Sabha seat and Central portfolio may go to Sreedharan Pillai. If that happens, it will not be first time a Governor, and that too from Mizioam, will return to active politics.
Former Kerala BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan, who was also the Governor of Mizoram for some time, is expected to be fielded from party’s stronghold of Nemom.
In the last election, BJP won just one seat and that was from Nemom, where senior leader O Rajagopal opened the account for the party in the Kerala Assembly. Rajagopal, who is above 90 years, may not be contesting this time, say the sources.
Former editor of ‘Organiser’, R Balasanker, is expected to contest from the Chengannur constituency where Sabarimala sentiment prevails in favour of the BJP.
Attempts are also being made to patch up with rebel leader Sobha Surendran by offering her the Palakkad seat. BJP has also roped in former DGPs Senkumar and Jacob Thomas.
The sources are also talking of a “paradigm shift in BJP’s Kerala strategy” this time. While in previous elections the saffron party tackled the CPM as main rival and also “supported” Congress candidates where it had no chance of winning, this time it is expected to be the other way round. The aim is to keep Congress out of power in Kerala for second term in a row so that “disappointed” party leaders join the BJP in hope of a “better political future”.