Mangalore RSS' conundrum with Kasargod BJP

Mangalore RSS' conundrum with Kasargod BJP

No unity within Kerala BJP and non-functioning of party in tandem with its Karnataka unit said to be reason

Mangalore RSS' conundrum with Kasargod BJP

It has been a long fruitless battle for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to bloom lotus in Kerala through the high potential constituency - Kasargod, according to their own perception. As per the organisational structure, part of Kasargod still comes under the RSS wing of Mangalore--up to the border of Chandragiri river.

Now the organisation in Mangalore has discovered the real reason for not being able to capitalize the dream in Kasargod even after years of sweating out--the non-unity within the Kerala BJP and the non-functioning of party in tandem with its Karnataka unit, sources say.

Sources also disclose that this is in tune with the view shared by RSS national leadership.

The Sangh leadership in Mangalore also believes that Kasargod BJP should adopt the style of functioning of its Mangalore unit. But this stand has been long opposed by Kerala unit, pointing that the type of polarizing politics would not work in a state like Kerala. This position has been unwillingly accepted by the Sangh for long. Now, at the doorstep of election, simmering has once again surfaced aiming at the Kerala leadership of BJP.

This time the warning is more sharp as part of RSS's no-holds-barred effort to make Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Earlier too, there have been bickering among Mangalore RSS that during every election, Kasargod BJP unit will make use of their immense help but will not pay heed to their opinion even on selecting candidate or setting up the agenda. All other affiliated organs of Sangh Parivar functioning in Kasargod comes under their respective Kerala unit barring RSS.

Best performance in 2009

In the electoral history of Kasargod Parliament constituency, it was in 2009, the BJP had its best performance--its candidate K Surendran had secured 14.81 per cent of the polled votes (1,25,482). In 2004, BJP candidate V Balakrishna Shetty polled 12.2 per cent of votes (1,10,328) and in 1999, P K Krishna Das secured 11.02 per cent (1,01,934) votes. Going by the trend, the BJP could well be optimistic, and it is evident from the words of BJP candidate K Surendran, who said: “We are here not to show the strength, but to win.”

The strength of BJP lies with the bordering parts of Karnataka--Manjeswar and Kasargod assembly constituencies. But going towards north, it has a dwindling presence. It has been dwarfed by the dominantly Left fortes like Payyannur, Kallyaseri assembly seats which fall under Kannur district. Apart from this, the major chunk of minority votes also are traditionally polled against BJP.

Strategic voting of LDF against BJP

Going by the statistics of Assembly polls in Manjeshwar and Kasargod, it was clear that the strategic voting pattern adopted by Left Democratic Front (LDF) in these constituencies have prevented BJP from opening their account in Kerala.

In 2011 Assembly polls, BJP candidates Jayalakshmi Bhat and K Surendran, managed to secure second place in Kasargod and Manjeshwar respectively (United Democratic Front (UDF) candidates won). In both the seats, LDF candidates were relegated to third position and they had secured less than 15,508 votes compared to 2006 assembly elections. These sure LDF votes were cast in favour of UDF candidate for the sole aim of preventing the BJP win.

This well thought out political decision of LDF, especially that of CPM has been blocking the emergence of BJP in Kerala and till now BJP has found no way out of this entangle. Even the think-tanks of RSS in Mangalore have no solution to offer to overcome this stumbling block. But this time, Sangh has been harping to promote Hindutva kind of politics as the only way to capture the Kasargod seat.

"The cross voting of CPM is pulling back BJP from winning these two constituencies for a long time," admits BJP National council member and Kerala state committee member, Madikai Kammaran.

Kammaran denies the charge that Mangalore RSS has displeasure over the functioning of BJP in Kasargod. “We have been consulting with Sangh on every issue including the selection of candidates. If at all any resentment is there, it could be exceptional one,” he told Deccan Herald.

Interestingly, when it comes to the burning issue of conservation of western ghats, both LDF and UDF is playing vote bank politics by disapproving Madhav Gadgil as well as Kasthuri Rangan reports. On the other hand, the BJP is the single party to support implementation of Gadgil committee report in Kerala which is the same demand put forth by environmentalists. But the party failed to make use of that bold position," he rued.