Kerala: BJP’s ‘Jai Shree Ram’ poster on municipality office draws flak

Palakkad: The Bharatiya Janata Party displayed a huge poster depicting Chhatrapati Shivaji with the slogan “Jai Shree Ram” from the top of the Municipality building in Palakkad, Kerala, which is now causing tremors and waves among the populace.

The event took place after the BJP-led NDA alliance retained their majority in the local body polls in the Palakkad Municipality, the results of which were declared on Wednesday. Following the result, a BJP spokesperson called Palakkad the “Gujarat of Kerala”.

Many Keralites took to social media to voice their discontent, calling for a case to be filed and that a municipality office isn’t a representative of a religious group. Many others also felt that incident is indicative of what a BJP ruled Kerala would look like if they were allowed to grow in the state.

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Advocate Harish Vasudevan writing in an article for TrueCopy Think argued that if this incident does not have a response (in mainstream media and legally) the same way if a Muslim party had done the same thing, it was indicative of soft Hindutva in the populace. 

Journalist K.A. Shaji, a former correspondent for The Hindu, wrote on Facebook, “Religious obscurantism wins over secular democracy in this country gradually. Cry my beloved country.” 

The Kerala state has so far resisted BJP’s communal politics but the saffron party did make a few gains in the local polls, with BJP MP K.J. Alphons telling ANI news agency that they hold 1,623 seats considering all tiers together. 

“We’ll be in power in 23 gram panchayats. Our numbers are equal to other parties in nearly 50 gram panchayats. We might come in power there also,” he said.

BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda even thanked the BJP president of the state K. Surendran for working “tirelessly” and giving BJP an increased mandate. 

However, Kerala’s finance minister Thomas Isaac had a different view of events. He said in a tweet, “BJP’s polarisation agenda can be contained. You have to (have) an agenda that strengthens unity of people like the demands of the agitating farmers in Delhi and alternative development agenda as in Kerala.” 

Unlike the recent gains in GHMC Hyderabad polls and Bihar assembly elections, the BJP did not have a showing they would have wanted in the Kerala local body polls in-spite of top-level brass saying so.

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