Cracks develop in Kerala NDA

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The three-year-old alliance of the BJP with the BDJS, an outfit representing the prominent Hindu Ezhava community in Kerala, seems to be heading towards a break-up.

The BDJS leader's public comments have been embarrassing the BJP in the state.

Formed by SNDP Yogam, an outfit of Ezhava community, the BDJS aligned itself with the BJP in March 2016 soon after its formation.

The alliance helped the NDA to improve its vote share in the 2016 Assembly elections and to some extent in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election— In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the NDA's votes share in Kerala was 10.33% and it jumped to 14% in 2019.

BDJS president Thushar Vellapally was the NDA candidate against then Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Wayanad in the 2019 general elections.

The BJP-BDJS relationship started worsening with Thushar's poor performance at Wayanad polls.

BDJS felt that even the BJP workers did not favour him there.

SNDP Yogan general secretary Vellapally Natesan, who is also Thusar's father, was pressing the BDJS to align with the Left Front in Kerala. The Left Front too seemed to be favouring this as Ezhava voters were traditionally considered as the Left Front's vote bank in Kerala.

The arrest of Thushar in a cheque default case at Ajman in UAE in August had further made the BDJS obliged to the Left Front as Kerala Chief Minister and senior CPM leader Pinarayi Vijayan swiftly shot off a letter to the Centre seeking steps to assist Thushar, even as the BJP leaders in Kerala were maintaining silence.

Thushar, who later came out of the case, openly expressed his gratitude to Vijayan.

Close on the heels of that, the BDJS announced that it was not contesting the Aroor Assembly seat in the upcoming bypolls— the seat was allotted to it by the NDA in 2016 election and the party candidate had secured 27,000 votes.

The reason cited by Thushar was that the BDJS did not receive due recognition from the NDA.

Causing much embarrassment to the BJP, Thushar made an open statement the other day that there was little chance for an NDA candidate to win at Aroor and Ernakulam seats in the bypolls to be held on October 21.

Thushar also accused the BJP of vote trade at the recently held bypoll at Pala in Kottayma district.

Even as the BJP and the BDJS leaders are publicly rejecting chances of a break-up, the ongoing developments strongly indicate that there is little chances of the BJP and the BDJS going forward together.

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