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Kerala Didn't Hop on the Narendra Modi Bandwagon in India's Elections

Written by Inji Pennu On 25 May 2014 @ 18:04 pm | 2 Comments

In Elections, English, India, LANGUAGES, Malayalam, Politics, South Asia, TOPICS, Weblog, WORLD

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters were dancing in the streets to celebrate the win of the BJP. Image by Abhisek Saha. Copyright Demotix (21/05/2014) [1]

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters dance in the streets to celebrate their party's win. Photo by Abhisek Saha. Copyright Demotix (21/05/2014)

As Narendra Modi [2], the next prime minister of India, and his Bharatiya Janata Party [3] (BJP) prepare to form a cabinet after a landslide election victory [4] in the recent general elections, one southern state won't be celebrating. 

Not one of Kerala [5]‘s 20 elected representatives to the Indian Parliament belongs to BJP [6], an exception to Modi's overwhelming success elsewhere in the country. The politician had paid multiple visits to the tiny state throughout his busy election schedule, hoping to sway voters in his favor.

History wasn't on BJP's side. The party has never won a single seat [7] in Kerala, though this time around while votes were being counted, it looked like BJP almost came close in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency [8]. Kerala, with its communist credentials and a strong minority community, has yet to warm to BJP's Hindu nationalist politics.

Beyond Kerala, some were already wary of Modi, who has attracted criticism [9] for his handling of deadly riots pitting Hindus against Muslims in his state of Gujarat where he was chief minister in 2002. 

On social media, users from Kerala celebrated Modi's loss. On Twitter, Sony, who lives in Bangalore in the neighboring state of Karnataka, wrote that he was proud to be from Kerala:

Kunjila Mascillamani Henry [11] in Kolkata wished on Facebook that others had followed in Kerala's footsteps: 

For the first time in my life, perhaps, i wish the rest of the country made Kerala its role model. Dark days lay ahead, but it's not over, it never is.
On the eve of resigning as Gujarat chief minister, BJP's prime minister-designate Narendra Modi. Image by Nisarg Lakhmani, Copyright Demotix (10/5/2014) [12]

BJP's prime minister-designate Narendra Modi waves on the eve of resigning as Gujarat chief minister. Photo by Nisarg Lakhmani. Copyright Demotix (10/5/2014)

A few celebrations from BJP supporters in Kerala also circulated online. NJith, a Google Plus user from Kerala, published a photo of Modi wearing a uniform of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS [13]), a right-wing Hindu nationalist group to which Modi belonged as a youth, and wrote [14]:

അഭിനന്ദനങ്ങള്‍. പരംവൈഭവം നേതുമേതത് സ്വരാഷ്ട്രം . അതയിരിക്കട്ടെ നരേന്ദ്ര ഭായി ഒരു സ്വയം സേവകന്‍ എന്ന നിലയില്‍ അങ്ങയുടെ കര്‍ത്തവ്യം.

Congratulations. Let my land flourish. I hope as a RSS man, you will fulfill your responsibilities

Dilba Asuran, an avid Modi supporter, argued on his Google Plus [15] account:

ഇത് മോദിയാണു മക്കളെ. കളി വേറെ. ചരിത്രത്തിലെ ഏറ്റവും വലിയ വിജയവുമായി ബിജെപിയും എൻഡിഏയും ജയിച്ച് കയറുമ്പോൾ ദിൽബൻ ആന്റ് കമ്പനിയുടെ പേരിലും പ്ലസ്സിലെ മോദി ഫാൻസിന്റെ പേരിലും എന്റെ സ്വന്തം പേരിലും അഭിവാദ്യങ്ങൾ അർപ്പിയ്ക്കുന്നു. രാജീവ് ഗാന്ധിക്ക് ശേഷം ഇന്ത്യ കണ്ട തൂത്തുവാരിയ വിജയം തനിക്കാണെന്ന് അവകാശപ്പെട്ടതും മോദി തെളിയിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു. അബ് കി ബാർ മോദി സർക്കാർ!!

This is Modi. It's no small feat. In the history of independent India, such an unprecedented win has never happened since the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Congratulations and cheers on behalf of me and Modi supporters. Now it's Modi's government.

Others were cautious about celebrating the trend against Modi in Kerala. Bobby Kunhu, a lawyer who lives in Delhi, warned on Facebook [16] that the BJP candidate lost by a very thin margin in Kerala:

Many of my friends are celebrating that Kerala is the only state that has not allowed BJP into its political geography. A word of caution to all of them – the BJP almost made it this time – Tharoor's margin of 99000+ votes came down to 14000+ and O Rajagopal placed second. More importantly, the mainstream political parties and society in Kerala including the left and the Kerala society has so well negotiated its communalism that there is not much space left for the BJP!

Rajesh Kunnoth shared the same feeling [17] on his Google Plus account:

കേരളം എന്തോ വലിയ വ്യത്യസ്തത കാണിച്ചു എന്ന് കരുതുന്നത് മൗഡ്ഡ്യമാണു്.. ശക്തരായ രണ്ടു മുന്നണികളിൽ ആയി ജനം വിഭജിച്ചു പോരടിച്ചു നിന്നതിനാൽ ഫാസിസ്റ്റ് രാഷ്ട്രീയത്തോടുള്ള കേരളത്തിന്റെ കൃത്യമായ നിലപാട് വ്യക്തമായില്ലെന്നെ ഞാൻ പറയൂ. ഒരുപക്ഷെ, ഒരു ബിരിയാണി ചെമ്പ് അടുപ്പത്തിരിക്കുന്നതുപോലെ ഉള്ളിൽ , നന്നായി വെന്തു ഫാസിസത്തിന് തിന്നാൻ പാകത്തിൽ ഇരിക്കുകയാണെന്ന് എനിയ്ക്ക് തോന്നുന്നു. ഒരു സിപ് വലിചൂരുന്ന ലാഘവത്തോടെ അവർക്ക് കേരളത്തെ ഒരുപക്ഷെ മാറ്റാൻ കഴിഞ്ഞേക്കും.

It is stupid to believe that Kerala did something different. Since there were two strong parties other than BJP on each side, we just missed the fascist wave. Maybe, it's like baking a one-pot rice meal, waiting to be done, to be eaten by everyone. Maybe it's just waiting for that moment when the lock breaks in a simple clean swipe.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/05/25/kerala-didnt-hop-on-the-narendra-modi-bandwagon-in-indias-elections/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.demotix.com/photo/4802756/bharatiya-janata-party-party-supporters-dance-street-after-victory

[2] Narendra Modi: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi

[3] Bharatiya Janata Party: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bharatiya_Janata_Party

[4] landslide election victory: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/18/narendra-modi-bjp-india-government

[5] Kerala: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerala

[6] belongs to BJP: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-is-kerala-the-only-exception-to-the-modi-wave-1988828

[7] never won a single seat: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/The-curious-case-of-few-BJP-wins-in-high-turnout-seats/articleshow/34310793.cms

[8] came close in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/bjp-candidate-o-rajagopal-leading-in-thiruvananthapuram/article6015126.ece?ref=relatedNews

[9] attracted criticism: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/05/18/5-things-you-should-know-about-indias-new-prime-minister-narendra-modi/

[10] May 17, 2014: https://twitter.com/sonykalloor/statuses/467496483772588033

[11] Kunjila Mascillamani Henry: https://www.facebook.com/kunjilaamani/posts/550271888426975

[12] Image: http://www.demotix.com/photo/4796635/modi-bids-farewell-maninagar-he-heads-7-rcr

[13] RSS: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/topic/Rashtriya-Swayamsevak-Sangh

[14] wrote: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Njith/posts/PXSf1bwX32G

[15] Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+dilbaasuran/posts/Yet7d8U5qJn

[16] warned on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bobby.kunhu/posts/10152373013076187

[17] shared the same feeling: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+rajeshkunnoth/posts/YUfZb9EtUxS

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