Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah on Sunday met Kerala’s Hindu Ezhava community leader Vellapally Natesan, who has expressed his desire to form a political party.
Natesan, the supreme leader of the powerful Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Sangom – the social organisation of Ezhavas – and Shah met on the sidelines of an event here to celebrate 62nd birthday of Mata Amritanandamayi.
This was for the second time in as many months that Natesan and Shah have met.
BJP Kerala unit president V. Muraleedharan and Natesan’s son, Tushar Vellapally, also took part in the meeting that assumes significance as Ezhava community leader wishes to form a political party.
But, Natesan said: “We did not discuss politics at today’s (Sunday) meeting.”
“Why people are so restless on my meeting? Don’t I have the freedom to meet people? Moreover, he (Shah) is the national president of the party that rules the country. I will also meet the prime minister…,” Natesan told the media.
The SNDP owes its allegiance to social reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
In Kerala, Hindus constitute over 50 percent of the 3.30 crore population and in numbers the Ezhava community is slightly ahead of the Hindu Nair community.
Over the years the SNDP, even though it claims to maintain a policy of equidistance with the rival political fronts – the Left Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front – in the state’s political spectrum, it was known that a majority of the Ezhavas often backed the CPI-M-led alliance.
Ever since Narendra Modi became the prime minister, the BJP was doing its best to woo the SNDP and for that Natesan was offered a deal to name a central university in the state after the revered guru.
For the BJP, which is yet to open an account in the 140-member Kerala assembly, getting Natesan into the NDA fold is expected to yield dividends, and with local body polls to be held in November and the assembly polls next year, the BJP is doing every bit of politicking.