Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress says that after Anil Antony swathed himself in saffron, the central leadership of the BJP is pursuing its "Kerala plan" more seriously. The CPI(M) too is viewing the new moves with caution. Except for former Member of Parliament A.P. Abdula Kutty, ex-president of the Devaswom Board G. Rama Nair, and former chairman of the Public Service Commission (PSC) Dr K.S. Radhakrishnan, no one of note had left the Congress for the BJP camp. But, several prominent persons, including former Union Minister K.V. Thomas, became part of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Even though the Kerala BJP leaders V. Muralidharan and K. Surendran were present on the stage when Anil Antony accepted the membership of the BJP, this "operation" was carried out directly by the central leadership.
Since it is necessary to win minority votes too in order to capture Kerala, brisk backroom moves are going on. Since the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had to be convinced first that the representation of minorities had to be ensured in party forums, that too was done. BJP sources say that the entry of Anil into the party is only one of the results of similar moves that have been going on for the past two years. They predict that more such developments could be expected within the next three months. It is also speculated that if there is a by-election in Wayanad, Anil will be considered as the candidate.
The BJP is trying to tap into the minority votes since their votes are crucial in ensuring victory or defeat for parties in Kerala. The State committee of the CPI(M) is of the view that the game plan being orchestrated by keeping Governor Arif Mohammed Khan as the frontman is to attract Muslim minorities. Both fronts have been making keen attempts to woo the votes of the Christian minorities.
Congress has decided not to give undue importance to Anil's exit. A.K. Antony avoided his usual evening visit to the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office yesterday since it was also Good Friday. Even though many people tried to contact him on the phone, he was not available. Antony has taken the stand that he is not for escalating the issue into a father-son confrontation. United Democratic Front convener M.M. Hasan visited him in the evening. Antony was going through one of the greatest sorrows of his life, Hasan said after the meeting.