Miffed Kerala BJP to open up before Amit Shah

Last Updated 31 August 2014, 14:24 IST

BJP's Kerala unit leaders, piqued over non-inclusion in the national body, said at a two-day meeting that began here Sunday that they will complain to party chief Amit Shah.

Leaders complained that not a single state leader was inducted into the newly-constituted national body of the party while P.K. Krishna Das, the lone representative in the outgoing body, was dropped from the post of secretary.

A few others were saddened that the state's senior most leader O. Rajagopal's name also did not figure in the list of new governors.

Shah is expected to talk to top leaders of the state unit as the party is caught in factional feuds.

A BJP leader told IANS that this is one reason why the state leadership was not considered in the national organisational structure.

A senior leader, not willing to be named, said: "All expect things will change as Shah means business. His first target is next year's local bodies polls -- billed as the semi-final -- ahead of the 2016 state polls, as the national leadership wants BJP to open its account in the 140-member Kerala assembly."

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh supremo Mohan Bhagwat, in the state for the past few days, also reached here Sunday and will meet Shah.

He started his maiden visit to the southern state to discuss with leaders and grassroots functionaries strategy to strengthen and galvanise the organisation.

Shah will attend a meet of state office bearers tomorrow morning and address a larger convention of over 6000 party functionaries, party sources said.

He is expected to discuss strategy to help BJP expand support base and make electoral gains with special emphasis on the need for strengthening the party at village level.

Shah will seek the blessings of Lord Sree Padmanabhaswamy of the famed temple here tomorrow before holding the meeting of the party's state executive at Vazhuthacad Guest House and addressing the meet of village panchayat pramukhs, sources close to him said.

The party is looking with new hope at the southern state, where Left and the Congress have alternatively been in power all along, hoping to sell the development model of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Shah's visit also assumes significance against the backdrop of factional tussles in the state and the internal debate over luring allies in Kerala, whose polity has been dominated by rival coalitions led by the Congress and CPI-M.

According to political observers, though BJP has grown in membership and support base in the state over the years, it still finds it difficult to attract smaller parties as allies.

This is especially so since the Muslims and Christian minorities are key factors in deciding the electoral outcome in most constituencies and the two fronts have been successful in wooing them.

Though certain sections in BJP in the state are not averse to reaching out to a party like Christian-dominated Kerala Congress (M) seizing on the "goodwill" created by  Modi Government at the Centre, this suggestion has met with cold response from a dominant section in the state leadership.

Shah will be returning tomorrow night.

(Published 31 August 2014, 12:11 IST)

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