In a major embarrassment to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), actor and Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi claimed that the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidates would win from Guruvayur and Thalasseri in the upcoming Kerala election. Though the actor’s statement is embarrassing to the saffron party, BJP state unit president K Surendran tried to downplay the controversy, stating that the actor’s prediction was his personal opinion.
However, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan used the Malayalam actor’s statement to allege that the BJP-Congress have an understanding in Kerala ahead of the polls. “Suresh Gopi’s statement is not just a slip of tongue,” said Vijayan. For months, Vijayan and the Left have alleged that there is a secret alliance between the BJP and Congress. However, the BJP and Congress have accused each other of being in an alliance with the Left.
Vijayan alleged that the UDF candidate in Guruvayur — IUML’s KNA Khader — is behaving like a BJP member and that he had struck a deal with the saffron party in the constituency. The Kerala CM also alleged that the secret alliance is the reason why Congress refused to accept the LDF government’s stand against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The BJP currently does not have any formal candidates in Guruvayur and Thalasseri constituencies. On March 20, the Returning Officers had rejected nominations of N Haridas in Thalasseri, R Dhanalakshmi in Devikulam and Nivedita in Guruvayur for not having the signature of the BJP national president JP Nadda as well as other technical issues. The candidates approached the Kerala High Court over the matter. However, the High Court said that it cannot intervene and rejected the petitions filed by the three BJP candidates.
While the NDA is supporting the Democratic Social Justice Party’s Dileep Nair, Suresh Gopi’s claim seems to be shaking up the political alliances especially in light of the ongoing allegations. The UDF allege that this candidate play is part of the CPM-BJP nexus to keep the UDF from getting power. Moreover, in Thalasseri, the BJP has reportedly declared support for the independent candidate COT Nazeer. While there were early considerations, the latter had objected to the support. On the other hand, in the latest press conference, Nazeer claimed that he hadn’t rejected BJP’s votes, and wouldn’t mind gaining their support.