Kozhikode(Kerala): The three-day national council meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Democratic Alliance state committee ended with tributes to Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay and contemplations on various political issues.
However, behind the veil of the mega event, an agenda of the party lied unexposed. If the actions of the party leaders, especially that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are taken as an indication, BJP is looking to boost its growth among Christians, who form around 19% of the state’s total population.
The new move has been seemingly initiated on the lines with Goa, where BJP successfully wooed Christian community during the last Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
To add to this, a few Christian leaders-Kozhikode Arch Diocese Bishop Varghese Chakkarakkal and Thamarassery Diocese chancellor Abraham Kavilpuredam-met Narendra Modi in Kozhikode during the meet here on Saturday. The visit was the latest of the series, which dates back to 2014 when NDA came into power in Centre. It was in 2014 when Christian leaders, which included heads of the Jacobite and the Malankara Orthodox churches said that the Church has no problem with Modi.
The new turn by the Syrian Christian clergy, which owns a legacy of standing with the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF), will pave way for a new political equation in the state in favour of BJP.
The visiting is not incidental. It is initiated as part of a long term strategy, drafted by the party’s national leadership to woo the Christian community in the state, says senior journalist V M Hasanul Banna. Party national secretary H Raja, who is in charge of Kerala, had said that the meet would chalk out a special strategy for Kerala while attending a press conference here ahead to the meet.
In what has left a clear message to the Christian leaders, the request by All India Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulama general secretary Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliyar and All India Islahi Movement general secretary Hussain Madavoor to meet the Prime Minister was denied citing various reasons.
According to Banna, the exclusion of Muslim leaders and might be aimed at appeasing the Christian leaders.
Reiterating what the Christian leaders earlier said, one of the priests of Kozhikode diocese, on condition of anonymity citing he is not the authority to comment, told Twocircles that Modi was good for development and he shouldn’t be perceived as a leader with anti minority sentiments.
A post poll survey, Centre for Study of Developing Societies, the NDA secured unexpected 10% of Christian votes while 34% of Nair votes, 18% of Ezhava votes, 23% of Dalit votes went to the account of the alliance in last assembly polls. This, according to experts, drew the party towards the Christian votes.
This followed another surprise for NDA leadership in the state that Kerala Congress (M), which holds the support of Christians here, quit Congress lead United Democratic Front coalition soon after the assembly polls. The party MLAs are now sitting in assembly as a separate block.
This was not was not unexpected; it is the continuation of a long-term plan drafted by BJP.
However, the church denies any political relevance for the meeting. “Problems of rubber farmers, coastal area residents and stray dog menace were discussed in the meeting,” said the priest working with Kozhikode diocese.