BJP keen to expand NDA in Kerala

Kozhikode: BJP on Friday said it was keen to expand the party-led National Democratic Alliance in Kerala and prepared to coordinate and accept any political party into its fold.

The remarks assume significance in the wake of reports that the party was eyeing Kerala Congress (M), led by former Finance Minister K M Mani, which snapped its over three decade old ties with the UDF recently following differences with Congress over bar bribery scam.

KC(M), which enjoyed a strong support base among Christian

community in central Travancore, has six MLAs in the present state Assembly and one MP.

After its fallout with Congress-led UDF, KC(M) recently decided to sit as a separate bloc in the state Assembly, keeping an equi-distance to both UDF and LDF.

However, former BJP state president, P S Sreedharan Pillai told PTI here that so far no talks had been held with the Kerala Congress (M) on the matter.

“But the party was interested in expanding NDA by taking more parties in its fold,” he said.

Pillai also rejected reports that fissures have erupted between BJP and its key partner in Kerala Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), floated by Sree Narayana Dharam Paripalana Yogam, (SNDP) General Secretary Vellapally Natesan.

SDNP is a powerful social organisation of backward Ezhava community in the state.

“It was a frivolous story. Because of the enthusiasm generated over the party’s national council here, some efforts are being made by anti-BJP forces to dampen it,” he said.

Meanwhile, indicating that party was not averse to have KC(M) in its fold, BJP spokesperson in Kerala J R Padmakukar told PTI “we have made our stand clear that no party,including KC-M, is untouchable to us. We are planning to expand our base. All parties are welcome to NDA.”

BJP, which had garnered about 16 per cent vote share in the May 16 polls, is upbeat that it has succeeded in opening its account in Kerala Assembly with the victory of former Union minister O Rajagopal.

“We are planning to expand our base in the state. All parties are welcome to NDA. If they express their wish, we will discuss in the NDA and take a decision,” he said.

On BJP eyeing KC(M), Padmakukar said, “let them take a decision. If they express a desire to join NDA or support or work along with BJP, we will take a decision. Our basic idea is to strengthen our vote share in Kerala to become a ruling party in the state”.