BJP latches onto Gujarati for campaign in Kozhikode

BJP latches onto Gujarati for campaign in Kozhikode

BJP latches onto Gujarati for campaign in Kozhikode

Campaigning with a difference, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Kozhikode C K Padmanabhan is playing the curiosity card with wall-writings in Gujarati script, some of which are etched with the image of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Olavanna, 10 km from here, is one of the locations where the wall-writings have appeared.

The move has left local residents amused. Rajesh, who runs an automobile workshop in the area, says the party could be trying to woo some of the migrant labourers who live in the neighbourhood.

“But then, Gujarati instead of Hindi is odd. Maybe it’s a way of getting attention,” he says.

Padmanabhan agrees, partly. He claims that it was the BJP that kick-started election campaigning in the constituency first and the brief was to innovate and win over new voters.

“We are bringing in some novelty to the campaign but we are also trying to reach out to Gujarati voters in Kozhikode and consolidate what we feel is their support to the party,” says Padmanabhan.

Statistics shared by the Gujarati community leaders reveal that there are more than 400 Gujarati-speaking families in the district.

The largely business community that has a history of more than four centuries in Kozhikode has not dabbled much in local politics, but have actively taken part in the electoral process over the last few elections.

Members of Gujarati organisations here, however, dismiss attempts at identity politics and said the community has blended well with the local milieu.

“Gujaratis here vote as individuals and my understanding is that they also vote for individual candidates based on merit and not the ideologies they represent. Till now, there has been no attempt to woo us as a vote-bank and I don’t think it would work in the local context either,” says Ramesh Bhailal Mehta, a businessman and president of the Sri Gujarati Samaj, Kozhikode.

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