By Shashi Bhushan
New Delhi, March 28 (IANS) Accepting the challenge of a triangular fight for the Kerala Assembly polls, Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said that the Congress is moving towards a sunset.
In an interview to IANS, the former Kerala BJP Chief said: “I don’t say that the Congress is irrelevant. But Congress is moving towards a sunset, that’s how I would term it. But of course, as of now, it’s a triangular contest.”
For the April 6 Kerala Assembly polls, the BJP is contesting against the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) led by the Congress. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.
The BJP currently has one seat in the state assembly and is leaving no stone unturned to make its presence felt in the next Kerala Assembly.
Muraleedharan pointed out that the BJP is a party of everyone irrespective of caste or religion. He said that the BJP has fielded eight Christian candidates in Kerala.
“We would like to have the votes of every section of the society and the Christian community is one of them. So we would definitely like to have their support,” he said.
The minister also said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with leaders of Churches has nothing to do with the assembly polls.
” The Prime Minister’s meeting with leaders of Churches has nothing to do with the political agenda of the BJP. The meeting was held after he (Prime Minister) received a request for same by the leaders of Churches,” he said.
Muraleedharan blames the opposition for propaganda to portray BJP as an upper-caste party. There is common perception that the BJP has the support of just the Nair community in Kerala.
“See, this is malicious propaganda that has been run by the opposition to portray BJP as only an upper caste party. In fact, the BJP has party workers and office bearers from every section of society,” the Minister said.
Muraleedharan explained that out of the four general secretaries, the party has one Christian and one general secretary from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community, even though there is no reservation for a particular community mentioned in the BJP constitution for the post of general secretaries.
“In Kerala, the party is led by a person who belongs to the OBC community in Kerala. The president doesn’t belong to the Nair community. But we have a fair amount of support from among the Nair community along with the Other Backward Classes and SC communities,”
When asked why the lone BJP MLA in Kerala O. Rajagopal was denied a ticket to contest the polls, Muraleedharan said that he (Rajagopal) had informed the party leadership about his unwillingness to contest the Assembly polls.
In last Assembly polls held in 2016, Rajagopal became the first BJP candidate to win the Kerala Assembly polls.
Confident of BJP’s performance, the Minister said, “I will not indulge in numbers but confidently say that our presence in state Assembly will surprise everyone. Our position in Kerala will improve.”