Thiruvananthapuram: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seeks to win 11 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala in 2019 and has already started primary work for it. Two senior leaders, tasked with coordinating vigorous campaigns in these constituencies, have visited the state once and reported back to the national leadership on the political situation in each of them.
Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan has been assigned six of these seats in southern districts, while Karnataka MP Nalin Kumar Kateel is in charge of the other five in the north.
Pradhan, from Odisha, will look after the Chalakudy, Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Kasaragod constituencies in the northern districts. Kateel has been entrusted with Thiruvananthapuram, Attingal, Kollam, Mavelikara, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta.
He has held review meetings with local leaders in each of these constituencies. Pradhan held a common meeting for the five seats he is handling.
Separate state office-bearers have also been appointed for all 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.
Amit Shah's decision
The 11 seats were chosen by the BJP national leadership after considering reports from the state leadership and inputs from different agencies. The votes that the party had won in previous elections, including the 2016 assembly polls, and its organizational strength in each of these constituencies, were considered. National chief Amit Shah has directed that there should be equal focus in all 11 constituencies. The list may be pruned ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, after reviewing the progress of work until then and the possibilities that the party is seen to have at that time.
What's happening now
The BJP has reached the conclusion that booth-level work has more or less frozen after the 2016 state assembly election. As a solution, it was decided to hold booth general body meetings every month and booth committees next month. The decision is being implemented.
The party is debating the plus and minus of having entrusted booth-level work to RSS workers during the assembly election. Their entry at the time of the election, replacing others who had regular responsibility, caused some unease. And the booths were left abandoned as the RSS activists left after the election.
The state leadership is also worried that Dharmendra Pradhan has to attend to assembly elections in Odisha in 2019 while Kateel will have to focus on Karnataka assembly elections. H Raja from Tamil Nadu is in charge of BJP organizational matters in Kerala. Pradhan and Kateel have been deployed only for the Lok Sabha polls.