Kerala Polls: BJP worried about vote share plunge, core panel seeks probe

BJP Kerala president K Surendran with Union Minister Pralhad Joshi
BJP Kerala president K Surendran with Union Minister Pralhad Joshi during the discussions held in New Delhi to finalize the party's candidates on friday. Photo: J Suresh

Thiruvananthapuram: The schism within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) deepened over the dent in vote bank which led to the alliance’s resounding defeat in the April 6 Kerala Assembly polls. 

After a preliminary enquiry, the BJP believes that the votes of its ally, the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) had gone to the rivals. The finding came even as the BJP’s core committee recommended the leadership to probe the dent in its vote bank at the district and constituency levels. 

It was found that the NDA votes dipped significantly in all the 21 seats where BDJS had contested. The Congress, meanwhile, alleged that the Left had won in all 21 except in Paravur and Kundara. 

The BJP reviewed the constituencies where the BDJS had lost votes. In most of those constituencies, the Left had a marked increase in its vote share. 

In Kaippamangalam, BDJS’s votes went down by 20,975 than in the 2016 polls, whereas in Aroor, it lost 10,274 votes and 18,098 votes in Kuttanad. The comparative decrease in the BDJS’s vote share has surprised the BJP. The NDA lost 2.44 lakh votes in the 21 BDJS constituencies from its 2016 vote share. The NDA, as a whole, lost more than four lakh votes this time in Kerala. A section of BJP leaders estimated that the BJP candidates, too, did not get BDJS votes. 

It was earlier estimated that the NDA gained 2.5 per cent more vote share in 2016, a year after the BJP had forged an alliance with BDJS. In the 2021 polls, the NDA lost as many votes. BJP had not been happy about fielding BDJS candidates in some constituencies.

The BJP core committee, meanwhile, opined that the slide in the party’s vote share should be examined first before probing the dent in BDJS’s vote bank.

The BJP received fewer votes than 2016 in 13 A Class constituencies, where the party had pumped in funds and unleashed a fierce campaign by fielding star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The campaign in A Class constituencies were under the supervision of RSS state wing leaders. The decrease in votes in prestigious constituencies has stunned the RSS also. Besides failing in retaining the 2016 votes, the party has now been clueless over the new 2,500 to 3,000 votes it had expected to come to its kitty.

In Kasaragod, which the BJP expected to win, the party could win only 5,725 votes less than in its vote share in 2016. In Chengannur, where BJP had denied its national leader R Balashankar the seat, its support decreased by 8,060 votes.

BJP tate president K Surendran also suffered loss of votes in Konni, where he came third. He lost 6,975 votes from what he had won in the bypoll. 

The central minister in charge of Kerala polls, Pralhad Joshi, instructed the core committee to separately probe the loss of votes in A Class constituencies.

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