Just a day after BJP president Amit Shah outlined his ambitious plans for Kerala that set a target of 11 seats from the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party suffered a setback in Malappuram by polls. It could not make any impact in the by-election, inviting the displeasure of the central leadership.

The BJP central leadership is unhappy over the by-poll outcome, Asianet News reports. The leadership feels that the poll strategy of state president Kummanam Rajashekharan failed to reap dividends in Malappuram. The central and state leadership had estimated that the party candidate would gain over one lakh votes in Malappuram. But the NDA-BJP candidate Sreeprakash could win only 65,675 votes (7% of votes polled), a marginal increase of less than thousand votes when compared to 2014 general elections.

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A section in the BJP state leadership is also unhappy with the selection of the candidate. Party state president Kummanam Rajashekharan dismissed the recommendation by the district leadership to field fire-brand speaker Shobha Surendran in Malappuram, some leaders alleged. The party failed to cash in on the favourable factors in the constituency, they pointed out.

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The detractors of Kummanam Rajashekharan allege that he was taking decisions unilaterally, without consulting other leaders. The president is more interested in environmental issues and land struggles. Politics takes a back seat, the critics say.


Kummanam Rajashekharan, however, dismissed reports of differences in the state leadership. He also denied criticisms over selection of candidate. "There was no mistake in selection of candidate. Sreeprakash is a known face there," he said.


Senior leader O Rajagopal MLA blamed the 'anti-Modi' sentiment prevailing in the state and communal consolidation in favour of the UDF for the poor performance of BJP.

The BJP state committee will convene at Palakkad in the backdrop of the Malappuram debacle. The meeting will discuss the reasons behind the party’s failure to cut into the vote share of the UDF and LDF in Malappuram. The two-day brainstorming session is also expected to chalk out strategies to  achieve the target set by Amit Shah.