BJP Kerala – The Third Force, when did it start
In the 2004 Lok Sabha election, NDA opened its account in Kerala with a win for its alliance partner Indian Federal Democratic Party candidate P. C. Thomas from Muvattupuzha (Lok Sabha Constituency). It was one of the narrowest victories (lead 511 votes) in the history of Indian parliament election. O Rajagopal (the current BJP MLA) was the only NDA candidate who had a decent outing garnering 2.28 lakh votes from Trivandrum Lok Sabha constituency. In 2011 Assembly elections O Rajagopal came second in Nemom constituency and lost the seat by a margin of 6000 votes. Many consider this as the starting of BJP’s growth in Kerala. However, many forget that 2004 LS win for NDA and 2011 second place was for the candidate and not for the party.
So, when did BJP start its growth in Kerala? To answer this question we would have to travel back in time, 4 years to be precise. The 2012 Mattannur municipality elections. Mattannur municipality is unique in itself because it’s the only municipality, which does not go to polls along with the other Local Bodies of Kerala. The last Mattannur municipality elections were held in 2012. The LDF retained the municipality with a majority of 20 against 14 seats of UDF.
In 3 wards out of the 34, BJP put up a stunning performance getting 2nd place in 2 wards and deciding the winner in 1 ward. In Kayaloor and Karetta, the BJP came in second, while in Mettady it finished 3rd position getting 274 votes. In Karetta, BJP’s Biju Elakkuzhi lost by 16 votes. It was one seat that BJP had pinned its hopes on. In Kayaloor BJP expected to put up a decent fight but never though of coming in second. Mettady was the one ward that surprised everyone including the 3 candidates. UDF won the seat by a margin of 4 votes. The surprise element was the number of votes that BJP had won, 274 which was 10 times more than it won in 2007. LDF lost the seat because of the growth of BJP.
The Mattannur municipality saw the beginning of the rise of BJP as a force in Kerala. It polled 7% votes and made its presence felt in 6 out of 34 wards which was a first in itself. This growth reflected in the 2016 results where BJP’s Biju Elakkuzhi got 18K votes, 10K more than what he got in 2011.
P.S. I havent considered the performance of KG Marar of BJP in the 1991 Assembly Elections as the seat Manjeshwar has always been considered a stronghold of BJP.
The winner of Mettady ward C. Anitha is my Mother-in-Law.
A right thinking Keralite who left the left in 2013.