Amit Shah meets BJP, Sangh leaders in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: BJP President Amit Shah on Saturday held a series of meetings with office bearers of the party and the RSS as part of efforts to strengthen the party base in Kerala ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Shah, who arrived here on the second leg of his Kerala tour, began with garlanding the statue of social reformer and dalit leader Ayyankali.

He will also interact with social leaders today. Shah’s three-day visit is aimed at wooing the dalits and the minority communites in the state, where the party has been struggling to get a foothold.

The BJP leader had on Friday met Church heads, including Cardinal George Alencherry of the Syro-Malabar Church, in an effort to woo the minority community, which accounted for 18-20 per cent of votes in Kerala.

Referring to the frequent attacks on BJP cadres by CPI(M), Shah had said the growth of his party cannot be stopped by violent means.

Addressing a party meeting in Kochi on Friday, Shah had said the southern state was “important” in the BJP’s strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

He had said the BJP, which had won several Assembly polls in the country after the 2014 Lok Sabha election, would not be “fully satisfied” till it tasted victory in the Kerala Assembly polls.

Meanwhile, CPI(M) state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan took a dig at Shah saying he had come to Kerala during the 2016 assembly polls stating that the saffron party would win 70 plus of the total 140 seats, but got just one seat.

“Now Shah has come to say that they will bag maximum parliament seats. This desire will not succeed,” he said.

At a time when the country is facing a crisis due to the Centre’s ban on sale of cattle in animal markets for slaughter, the BJP leader has come to the state to woo the minority communities into NDA, Balakrishnan said.

The BJP does not have a single MP in the lower house from the state, which has 20 seats. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, its efforts to win a couple of seats had crashed, he said.

In the assembly, the BJP managed to win a single seat from the state capital constituency of Nemom.