The beef row in Kerala is expected to dominate BJP president Amit Shah’s three day visit to the state. Kerala is a Left and Congress stronghold, and Shah’s visit is expected to ramp up BJP’s presence at the booth level.
“The BJP’s stand on beef is well known,” a BJP general secretary said. “The present controversy involving Congress leaders helps us in pushing it against the walls.”Youth wings of the state’s ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and Congress-headed UDF opposition killed a calf in Kannur in public on Saturday evening, cooked its meat and distributed it during a “Beef Fest” to protest against the BJP-led central government’s new rules on cattle trade that ban the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter through animal markets .
Shah will begin his tour from Kochi on June 2. He will hold a meeting with the Kerala BJP core group there, followed by discussions with NDA Partners Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) and the Janadhipathya Rashtriya Sabha (JRS). Various organizational units of BJP will also meet Shah to discuss challenges the party faces in the state.Shah will also participate in BJP’s booth level programme for which several party workers have also enrolled.
The BJP’s Kerala strategy is two-pronged. First, it wants to increase its presence at the booth level, an exercise that will add to its organizational muscles. Second, it is planning to be seen as viable alternative to the Congress, locally.
Shah’s itinerary also includes interaction with intellectuals, social and community leaders and influential people of Thiruvananthapuram inclined to BJP. He will meet with state BJP office-bearers and heads of 19 party departments to gauge the growth of the party since 2016 and suggest ways to increase the political footprint in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and five union ministers will tour the state between May 26 and June 15 to attend BJP events and make another push to increase organization’s footprints in the southern state.
“The day people realize we can put up a fight to Congress, it will the end of roads of the communist parties,” a top BJP leader told HT. The BJP tasted its first electoral victory in Kerala, winning an assembly seat for the first time in the 2016 election.
The party had polled 18.5 lakh votes (10.45%) in the 2014 Lok Sabha election and improved its tally in the 2016 assembly election to 21.2 lakh votes (10.53%). These two performances were a huge improvement over the party’s 2011 performance, 10.5 lakh votes (6.03%).
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