Annamalai’s guarantee to BJP to grow ‘lotus’ in the South?

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In the election season of southern states, only one name is echoing everywhere, that is Annamalai. A new star has emerged in the politics there. Former IPS officer Annamalai, on his own strength, has prepared fertile ground for politics in the southern states for BJP. If we look at its political geography, Tamil Nadu is one of those unique states. Where, more than 87 percent of the population is Hindu. This is one of those states where the presence of national parties i.e. BJP and Congress has not been significant. Yes, BJP has definitely been gathering votes in Coimbatore and Kanyakumari. Apart from the 1998 Coimbatore bomb blasts, religious riots have reduced in Tamil Nadu.

The biggest reason why BJP did not become strong in Tamil Nadu was the lack of leadership in the state, many BJP leaders were known for controversial statements. But, PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have changed this perception and after the appointment of former IPS officer K Annamalai as the President of Tamil Nadu, BJP’s prospects have increased significantly in the southern state dominated by the Dravidian party. Annamalai has been successful to a great extent in preparing the ground for the party in the state. Modi and Amit Shah are continuously supporting the leadership of Annamalai. On this basis, BJP has shown courage to contest elections on 23 seats in Tamil Nadu alone. BJP is going for the trust of voters on the basis of its competence and appeal to the public.

BJP is likely to get votes from fishermen, women or other sections of the society in Tamil Nadu at this time. BJP is going before the voters with the issues of corruption and dynastic politics. At this time, the youth of Tamil Nadu are also coming together with Annamalai and are also supporting the slogan of overthrowing the DMK government. Annamalai’s ‘En Man, En Makkal’ march across Tamil Nadu was helpful in increasing the support of BJP. The seven-month long journey was concluded by Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself. Now the people of Tamil Nadu have started looking for an alternative to DMK and AIADMK. Annamalai himself is contesting from Coimbatore. Amit Shah claims that on June 4, you will see increased number of MPs and increased vote share in Tamil Nadu.

However, Karnataka is a state located in the south of India where BJP has a large presence. BJP first established its presence in Karnataka in 2008. The main reason for which is HD. It was Kumaraswamy’s failure. In 2008, BJP won 110 seats. BJP is really strong in Coastal Karnataka region and Mumbai Karnataka region. Another reason for BJP’s strength in Karnataka is caste. In Karnataka, Lingayats and Brahmins always support BJP while Vokkaligas, Dalits and minorities vote for either Congress or Janata Dal Secular. Karnataka is indeed a stronghold for the BJP. This is a state in the south of India where BJP alone has been able to make its political inroads.

At the same time, Kerala is the only state in the south of India where about 54 percent of the population is Hindu. But, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam have equal presence in Kerala. This is the only state in South India where no single party gets absolute majority in the state assembly. Kerala elections are won only by alliance. There is United Democratic Front led by Congress and Left Democratic Front led by communist parties. BJP is busy making its place in Kerala. There has been a propaganda against BJP in Kerala that it is a Hindi party. At the local level, BJP cadres are fighting religious fanatics. Christian communities in Kerala are increasingly coming towards BJP. The Christian community of Kerala is divided between Catholics and non-Catholics. Catholics are not fully aligned with the Vatican. There are broadly 8 major Christian communities in Kerala.

The most interesting thing is that each Christian community has a rivalry with the other. The battle between the Orthodox and the Jacobites has reached the Supreme Court. There is no single party that can represent all Christians and most Christians are historically anti-communist. Some communities within Catholics have gradually begun to explore the BJP as a possible alternative. Zero Malankara Catholics, who are around Central Kerala, Kerala and Wayanad, some people of Marthoma Church who are out of India due to living in America and Europe, all these are now visible with BJP. Gradually these communities are becoming positive towards BJP and moving away from the ideologies of Congress. There has been a massive change of heart among these Christian communities. However, the Church has always refused participation in politics.

Conversion to Islam was not a common culture and was mostly limited to exceptional cases. But since the 1990s, Muslim evangelicalism has emerged. Such purposes were heavily funded by Saudi petro dollars. This troubled many Christian missionary movements. Islamophobia entered the minds of ordinary Christians. Love Jihad Meanwhile, many cases of Love Jihad came up and this idea created fear in the minds of Christian communities. As far as Christian sensibilities are concerned, they still do not allow inter-caste marriages. Christian pastors are warning people of their community against love jihad and they are coming closer to the ruling party at the center BJP. Hundreds of senior priests like Bishop and Vicars are joining the BJP. The Christian community has traditionally been a major player in political power equations. They cannot afford to be out of power for long, so are adjusting to those who have power. Many members of the clergy strongly remember the humiliations they faced from the CPM and see their future with the BJP. Home Minister Amit Shah’s activism in this matter is worth seeing, he is constantly with these priests. His special role can prove to be a boon for BJP in Kerala.

– Dr. Ramesh Thakur,

New Delhi

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