Encouraged by polling 14 per cent votes in last year’s election to the Kerala Assembly and opening its account in the legislature, albeit with a solitary seat, and enthused by its stunning performance in this year’s Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, BJP chief Amit Shah, backed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has launched a simultaneous propaganda blitzkrieg in Delhi and in Kannur against the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front government of Kerala.
While the President Ram Nath Kovind, was praising Kerala for its “spiritual consciousness” where Christianity existed from the first century and Islam from the seventh century, at a function in Kollam in south Kerala, Amit Shah led a Jan Raksha Yatra from Kannur in north Kerala challenging the harmonious co-existence of all major religions in the State.
The 15-day yatra is slated to end in Thiruvananthapuram. Shah’s immediate target was the Pinarayi Vijayan government and ultimate goal was to expand the base of the BJP in Kerala. The LDF government is firmly entrenched with no sign of any instability.
Shah lacked the stamina to keep pace with the march for more than one day. On the second day the yatra was to pass though Vijayan’s constituency and Shah was to address a rally in the evening. Handing over the baton to Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of UP, Shah quietly returned to Delhi, promising to return for the closing day of the yatra in Thiruvananthapuram.
Adityanath’s brand of politics, like that of Shah’s, is the very antithesis of Kerala politics. Shah made political violence and ‘love jihad’ the central themes of the Jan Raksha Yatra. The people of Kerala know violence is not the monopoly of the Marxists. The RSS-BJP also thrive on political violence, especially in the district of Kannur.
Taking a potshot at the Kerala government for the dengue deaths in the State, Adityanath asked Vijayan to take lessons from UP on how to run hospitals! Modi also did not endear himself to the people of Kerala when he compared the State’s infant mortality among the Scheduled Tribes with that of Somalia. In reality, Kerala figures on top on all major social development indicators and credit for it goes to both the LDF and the Congress-led United Democratic Front. In relative terms, the record of development in states ruled by the BJP is dismal.
Religious conversions have been going on in Kerala without let or hindrance for the last 2,000 years, and the Muslim population has touched 28 per cent which the BJP finds alarming. To curb this trend, whenever a Hindu girl marries a Muslim boy, it is dubbed ‘love jihad’ and the girls are terrorised by the RSS. It only makes them more determined.
By withdrawing from the march, Shah may have conceded that ‘mission Kerala’ has failed at least for now.