Lok Sabha Elections 2024: George Kurian's surprise entry could help BJP's Christian outreach

Kurian, 63, hails from Kottayam in Kerala. Serving as BJP state general secretary, he has been a worker in the party for the last four decades.
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 09:42 IST
Last Updated : 10 June 2024, 09:42 IST

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Thiruvananthapuram: BJP pulled a surprise move by inducting senior party leader from Kerala George Kurian, along with the maiden Lok Sabha MP from the state Suresh Gopi, to the third Narendra Modi ministry.

Induction of these two leaders is considered to be a Christian outreach move as well as a thanks-giving by the BJP.

Even as there were strong speculations of Gopi's entry to the ministry, Kurian's induction came as a surprise even to the BJP cadres in Kerala. Kurian, who was not in the electoral fray, will be made a Rajya Sabha member.  

Kurian, 63, hails from Kottayam in Kerala. Serving as BJP state general secretary, he has been a worker in the party for the last four decades.

He contested the Assembly election at Puthuppally in Kottayam in 2016 and Lok Sabha elections in 1991 and 1998 in Kottayam, but could not make it. He also served as vice-chairman of the National Commission for Minorities.

Apart from making inroads into Christian vote banks of central Kerala, Kurian's induction could also be considered as a way to thank the Christian voters, who have played a key role in the victory of Suresh Gopi at Thrissur.

Christian communities constitute over 18 per cent of Kerala's population as per the 2011 census. Though bureaucrat turned politician Alphonse Kannanthanam was made a minister of state in the first Modi government he was not an active party worker, whereas Kurian has been a party worker over the last four decades and is close to the party's state leadership.

Gopi—who is an actor turned politician—conveyed his inconvenience to be in the ministry owing to film commitments. However, according to reports, Modi and the leadership insisted on his entry into the ministry as he is the party's maiden MP from Kerala. Gopi rushed to Delhi from Thiruvananthapuram. 

BJP workers across Kerala celebrated the entry of Gopi and Kurian to the ministry by distributing sweets.

Though BJP's coalition partner in Kerala Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) were pushing for representation in the ministry, BJP sources said that lack of Rajya Sabha vacancies is causing a major hindrance.

BDJS, which is associated with Hindu-Ezhava community body SNDP Yogam, contested in four seats and secured a vote share of 2.5 per cent.

SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan, who is the father of BDJS president Thushar Vellappally Natesan said that there was shift the in the Ezhava community's votes from the left-front to the BJP camps. Ezhava community, which is OBC, is the largest Hindu community in Kerala.

In the previous Modi government BJP leader from Kerala V Muraleedharan was a minister of state for external affairs after being made a Rajya Sabha member.

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Published 10 June 2024, 09:42 IST

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