Cover Story
Kerala Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Worrying Signs
by Chandramohan

The BJP has emerged as a political force to reckon with in Kerala not only in terms of rising vote share but also has become one of the poles in the state. It has almost attained the critical threshold level of vote share of 20 percent that has made it a force not to be erased in the political scenario which is a matter of concern for the Left and democratic forces. It is amply evident from the fact that BJP candidate Suresh Gopi won the Lok Sabha elections at Thrissur constituency with a margin of 74,686 votes. He had been cultivating the constituency since he lost the seat five years back. He has been continuously engaged in welfare measures through a trust led by him and has made a lot of contributions to the people in distress which is appreciated by many, more importantly by the orthodox Christians which has yielded more dividends. The BJP’s vociferous propaganda of “Love Jihad” against Muslims is also said to have attracted a sizeable section of orthodox Christians. This traditional congress voting section shifted towards BJP, with the congress vote share dropping in Trissur by around 9 percent.

In Kerala, the BJP also modified its strategy to attract upper caste Christian voters and the extreme backward castes like Ezhavas to their side and the results display that they were successful with the strategy. They have secured the votes of orthodox Christians in several constituencies of the state.

Another major concern is the shifting of Ezhava votes, towards the BJP and NDA, who had, hitherto, been the fundamental mass political base of the CPIM and the LDF which propelled them to power in Kerala decades back. In fact, the CPIM was known as an Ezhava party in the beginning who were the most downtrodden and belonged to the extreme backward category.

In the previous Lok Sabha elections, for the first time, the BJP was successful in leading in only one assembly segment of LS seats in the entire state. BJP also won an assembly constituency, Nemom assembly, under Trivandrum Lok Sabha seat in Kerala. In that sense, the BJP has made its foray already in the state in 2016 itself through its first victory of assembly seat in Kerala but lost subsequently in assembly elections 2021 to the CPIM. The victory of Suresh Gopi is the first debut in the Lok Sabha from Kerala. 

The BJP and NDA has been steadily rising in terms of its vote share in the several recent elections. It has increased its votes share from 14.8 percent in 2019 to 19.2 percent in 2024. Most striking is that it has maintained its lead in 11 assembly segments of the state LS constituencies in 2024 in contrast to that of 19 by the CPIM. It has also come to second position in seven assembly segments in 2024. On the other hand, CPIM’s vote share has marginally declined from 25.97 percent in 2019 to 25.82 percent in 2024 while the LDF has lost a vote share of around 2.6 percent in 2024 compared to 2019 which is more or less gained by the NDA. The NDA’s vote share has risen by 4.4 percent.

The BJP’s victory of one Lok Sabha seat and leads in 11 assembly segments in 2024 has raised serious concerns about the threats of the right-wing force successfully making further inroads in Kerala and eroding its democratic landscape.