Temple issue works for Cong.

Benefits from social turmoil of Sabarimala campaign

Lord Ayyappa, it appears, has blessed not the ones who vociferously campaigned for him or those who stood by the Supreme Court verdict allowing entry of women to the temple.

Instead, the Congress, which many had accused as the ‘B’ team of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the State, appeared to have received the benevolence in abundance.

A host of social issues seem to have played a major role in the defeat of the LDF in the polls.

The BJP, which sensed a “golden opportunity” in the Sabarimala issue following the Supreme Court verdict, had partially succeeded in playing the Hindu card.

Though the party’s campaign helped in consolidating votes of a large number of caste Hindus and a section of the backward caste communities against the government and the CPI(M), it could not propel any of its candidate to victory.

Instead, it proved useful for the Congress, which played its cards cleverly with the campaign “with the faithful and temple worshippers” at the height of the Sabarimala protest. The UDF, which was buoyed by the candidature of Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad, appeared to have benefited from the social turmoil created by the Sabarimala issue.

Barring the initial lead, BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan could not surge ahead of Shashi Tharoor of the Congress in any phase of counting. In Pathanamthitta too, BJP candidate K. Surendran, who spearheaded the Sabarimala campaign, failed to impress the voters. Same was the case in Thrissur, where the BJP’s Suresh Gopi was in the fray.

Initial analysis indicates a significant shift in voting pattern in the Left strongholds, which could be partially attributed to unhappiness over the government’s position on the temple issue.

Questions will also be raised against the State leadership of the BJP as the party could not open its account in the State despite having an issue with the potential to polarise Hindu votes.

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