Is BJP’s increasing vote share marring UDF’s poll prospects?

Role of the party in the otherwise bipolar electoral scene of the State is changing equations

The emerging presence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the State’s traditionally bipolar electoral scene may benefit the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the upcoming Assembly polls.

The results of the previous Assembly elections show that the rise in vote-share of the BJP in the State has been damaging the prospects of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) more than that of the Left alliance.

The composition of the two rival coalitions may be undergoing changes in the run-up to the polls but the way the electorate moves finally is anyone’s guess.

Significantly, the political graph of the BJP has been steadily climbing after the Narendra Modi government came to power in 2014. Besides, the party moderately increased its vote-share after it cobbled up an alliance with Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) in the 2015 local body polls.

However, even if the BJP did not have an alliance with the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam-backed entity, the Nair- Ezhava binary would have continued to work to the advantage of the party. This social engineering methodology, cleverly employed through its community leaders, was evident in the 2019 Lok Sabha and the 2020 local body polls.

For the Congress party, it was only about losing the Nair community votes to the BJP. But for the CPI(M), the party witnessed an erosion in its traditional Ezhava vote-base and from the Nair community as well. This may have possibly compelled Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to make a Facebook post flaying the Congress party for adopting a subservient role to the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) even as the party gained a section of minority votes, especially of the Muslim community.

This time, the BJP’s target is to get at least 12 seats and also increase its vote-share between 18-20%. However, the outburst of RSS ideologue R. Balasankar that the BJP had tacit deal with the CPI(M) and the perceived pro-Congress stand adopted by the Nair Service Society appear to threaten the ambitions of the party.

Besides, many party supporters feel that their votes would be wasted if they choose to vote for losing BJP candidates and help arch-rivals CP(M) to get a second term.

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