Kochi: The Lok Sabha results in Kerala in the backdrop of the Sabarimala verdict gave an impression that the CPM had lost a section of its vote base forever with the BJP and other Hindutva outfits launching a strident campaign putting the CPM-led government in the dock for the verdict.
The Congress-led UDF winning 19 out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats with massive margins including in well-known Left citadels such as Palakkad and Alathur was interpreted as the beginning of the end of the CPM in the state.
However, the Pala vote came as a bolt from the blue for the saffron combine. The BJP candidate failing to hold on to votes the party polled in 2016 Assembly polls (24,821) and 2019 Lok Sabha elections (26,533) will raise a serious question mark over the claim that it is making a steady progress in the state’s electoral landscape. The drop in votes will also raise the spectre of vote trading by the party, a charge often raised against the BJP in the state.
The results raise the question if the BJP can rest solely on Sabarimala issue to emerge as the decisive player to breach LDF-UDF binary of Kerala politics.
The party losing nearly 8,500 votes compared to its tally in Lok Sabha elections in Pala is a shattering blow to the well-calibrated strategy of the Hindutva brigade to channel political discourse in the state into a majority-minority paradigm with its perennial theme of the imaginary sufferings of the members of the majority community at the hands of the LDF regime, while the UDF has been portrayed as pampering the minority communities....