As part of the Janraksha Yatra, Shah was supposed to lead party workers into Pinarayi, the home village of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan but the BJP announced that he cancelled the trip due to compelling reasons.
Thiruvananthapuram: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah skipped a scheduled event in Kerala on Thursday, triggering speculation that the last-minute decision to withdraw from a high-profile two-week campaign was prompted by poor crowd response.
As part of the Janraksha Yatra, Shah was supposed to lead party workers into Pinarayi, the home village
of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan but the BJP announced that he cancelled the trip due to compelling
“The prime minister has asked him to stay in Delhi for some important consultations. He will join the
yatra once his busy schedule is over,” said BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekhran.
Shah had launched the yatra on Tuesday in Kannur, a district with a history of bloody political
violence that has claimed scores of BJP, RSS and Left Front workers.
The CPI(M), however, said paltry crowds had forced Shah to skip the rally. “The party has made a
mountain out of a molehill. Poor response forced the party president to call it a day. It shows people
have rejected the much-publicised exercise of the saffron party,” said CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri
Others indicated that intense infighting in the state unit might also have been a factor.
“Shah’s pull out clearly shows the party has run out of steam. Secular credential of the state is very
strong and he can’t fan trouble here like some north Indian states,” said Congress leader Ramesh
But the BJP dismissed these charges. “Our political opponents are spreading canards. People who
witnessed the last two days’ developments won’t say this,” Rajasekhran said, adding that he was
informed about the change of schedule only in the morning.
Later, the yatra passed through Pinarayi peacefully. CPI(M) workers had put up large hoardings and
banners throughout the village carrying pictures of the victims killed allegedly by RSS-BJP workers.
The BJP is aiming to use the rally to attack the state government on the issue of the deaths of saffron
party workers, and catapult to prominence in a state it has never been close to power. On Wednesday,
the party had roped in firebrand Hindu leader Yogi Adityanath, who led the march and accused the Kerala
government of shielding jihadi forces.