By contrast, the Hindu political traditions of Kerala are rooted in the social reformist movements of the early 20th century that aimed to transform Hindu society from within.
The historic temple entry movement broke the supremacy of Brahminical rituals and traditions, busted caste barriers and created the basis for a more egalitarian society where the freedom to worship was a fundamental right for all and where cow worship wasn’t central to Hindu religious beliefs.
Forget economic slowdown, jobs, GST, Rohingyas or Kashmir: for a few hours at least, the BJP’s high-decibel Jan Raksha Yatra across Kerala took precedence, as the lines between party and government were blurred.
The Kerala-centric blitzkrieg reveals the BJP’s appetite for political expansion.
Why has the BJP failed to crack the Kerala conundrum?
This is, after all, a state with a sizeable minority population – between them, Muslims and Christians constitute 45% of the state – so there is every possibility of cementing a majority Hindu vote bank.
The Ram Mandir movement that first propelled the BJP to become a serious national player in the 1990s was driven by an agenda aimed at consciously stirring a Hindu-Muslim conflict.
A militant Hindu political identity was consolidated by harking back to the need to ‘avenge’ historical grievances dating to the Mughal era, leading eventually to the act of demolishing the Babri Masjid.
Delhi (Hindi: दिल्ली, Urdu: دلّی, Punjabi: ਦਿੱਲੀ) is India's capital and the home of the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of Government.
By making the controversial Yogi one of the prime faces of its Kerala campaign, the BJP made the mistake of raising the communal pitch: the ‘love jihad’ rhetoric may be alluring in the backward regions of Uttar Pradesh, but in a state which celebrates its universal literacy programme, the divisive propaganda against ‘forced’ inter-religious marriages will invite a backlash from those who see it as a deliberate attempt to divide society.
Moreover, can a Yogi credibly challenge Kerala’s social development record after having endured the embarrassment of spiraling infant deaths in Gorakhpur’s main hospital?
And yet, the tepid response on the ground to the Amit Shah-led yatra suggests that Kerala’s backwaters aren’t ready for the lotus to bloom just yet.
That the BJP president chose to hastily return from Kerala to the national capital suggests that the party leadership realised this was one gambit not working out to the script.Post-script: On the very day that the BJP’s Kerala campaign was the top headline across ‘national’ news channels, the local media was obsessing with top Malayalam film star Dileep who was released on bail after spending months in jail on serious abduction and molestation charges.