With the Karnataka election result on May 13, the Bharatiya Janata Party lost its only foothold in South India as its government was voted out. But with Lok Sabha elections due next year, the party and its affiliated organisations continue their efforts to make inroads into the southern states.
Kerala, in particular, remains a tough nut to crack for the saffron party, which has made modest gains in the state where a unique, cohesive Malayali identity often trumps religious divides.
Nissim Mannathukkaren, professor at the International Development Studies Department at Dalhousie University, Canada, points out that Kerala is one of India’s most religious diverse states with the presence of three major religions and a harmonious social fabric.
Apart from its tested playbook of religious polarisiation, the BJP is also making overtures to the powerful Catholic Church and the influential Syrian Christian community.
Mannathukkaren, in an interview with Abhish K Bose of Asian Lite International, said that while the Church supporting the BJP is not new, it does not augur well for Kerala. “The reason for the Church’s accommodation of the BJP is merely instrumental and self-interestedness, especially in protecting its vast power and resources,” he said. “It is not moral or ideological.”
Without an alliance with the Christian community, the…