Ending the mystery over its Pathanamthitta candidate, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has named State general secretary K. Surendran for the Lok Sabha segment.
The delay had caused much embarrassment to the cadre which aired apprehensions about the prospects of the party that was expecting to win without much effort, post-Sabarimala verdict.
Though the BJP State unit dubbed the delay a mere technicality, the pressure put in by caste and community outfits is understood to have prompted the Central leadership to weigh different options and put the decision on hold for some time.
Almost all other major aspirants for the Pathanmthitta segment, except State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and K. Surendran, had opted out of the race once the part first list was released.
The claims made by certain BJP leaders of enjoying the support of the Nair Service Society (NSS) fell flat with the leadership vociferously reiterating its resolve to stick to the equidistant policy. Still, its opposition to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has been quite evident.
The truant stance of the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) in fielding its leader Thushar Vellappally from Thrissur had also put the BJP leadership in a bind.
The BJP is keen on having Thushar as candidate to create a public image that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is still in tact. It also aimed to put the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam leadership that had of late drifted to the LDF under pressure or at least to coerce it to maintain neutrality.
A campaign by a section of party workers of Pathanamthitta for Mr. Surendran’s candidature and targeting Mr. Pillai on the social media is understood to have annoyed the national leadership.
Thushar’s assertion that the seat allocation had been completed and each party would decide its candidate went against the pact reportedly struck between him and the BJP to contest from Thrissur. Though projected as one of the four seats where the BJP pins its hopes, his winning prospects are not so bright. Which means, the BJP leadership would have to make amends if he suffers a defeat at the hustings.
Even if the BJP leadership makes a ‘firm’ offer, the BDJS, unhappy about its endless wait for posts offered by the former in the past five years, would insist on clinching the deal only against firm assurances. Whether a cadre party like the BJP will buckle under such pressure is what remains to be seen.