Narendra Modi campaigns for Anil Antony in Pathanamthitta, says ‘lotus will bloom’ in Kerala

The prime minister claimed that the BJP would open an account in Kerala this time by winning double-digit seats from the state.

ByK A Shaji

Published Mar 15, 2024 | 8:36 PMUpdatedMar 15, 2024 | 10:20 PM

Narendra Modi addressing BJP election campaign meeting in Pathanamthitta.

In his third visit to Kerala in the last two months, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, 15 March, addressed a massive election campaign meeting of the BJP in Pathanamthitta in Southern Kerala.

The saffron party has named Anil Antony, who incidentally is the son of Congress Working Committee (CWC) member AK Antony, to take on sitting Congress MP Anto Antony and the CPI(M) central committee member and noted economist Dr TM Thomas Issac.

Pathanamthitta also houses Sabarimala, the abode of the celibate god Ayyappa, to which the entry of women continues to be a matter of contention between the Sangh Parivar and modernists.

The temple witnessed fights between orthodox and modernists between 2018 and 2019 when the Supreme Court allowed temple entry beyond gender considerations.

Also Read: DMK enemy of Tamil Nadu’s future, alleges PM Modi in Kanniyakumari

Chants slogan praising Ayyappa 

Modi, who reached Pathanamthitta from Kanniyakumari in Tamil Nadu using a helicopter, began his speech by repeatedly chanting Swamiye Sranamayyappa (Lord Ayyappa, I take refuge in thee), echoed by the thousands who thronged the meeting venue.

Those who occupied the stage included Padmaja Venugopal, former general secretary of Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) and daughter of late Congress leader and four-time Chief Minister K Karunakaran. Padmaja joined the BJP last week, alleging neglect by the Congress leadership.

Anil Antony greeted Modi by presenting him with a replica of the famous snake boat, which is being used for the Aranmula snake boat race in the constituency.

Addressing the gathering, Modi said that the people of Kerala will vote for the BJP in the upcoming general elections and that the party will have double-digit representation in Lok Sabha from the state after that.

Modi emphasised that the “lotus will bloom” in the state and said the part leadership expects nothing shorter than a double-digit win.

Also Read: Karnataka DGP hands over POCSO case against Yediyurappa to CID

Claims of winning over 400 seats

“By fielding a maximum number of youngsters in this election, BJP is attempting to celebrate the spirit of youth in the country. The part has chosen Anil Antony for Pathanamthitta as he has the potential and determination to serve better the people of the constituency. Kerala politics needs this kind of freshness. That is why people of Kerala are also saying this time BJP-led NDA would win 400 plus seats across the country,” said Modi.

He criticised the UDF and LDF for cheating the voters by joining hands with each other in Delhi while remaining enemies in the state.

“Kerala’s culture is associated with spirituality and tolerance. However, the UDF and LDF are instigating political violence in a way that shatters the prevailing peace in the state. The law and order situation in Kerala has collapsed. Colleges in the state have become dens of ‘Communist goondas’,” claimed Modi.

“The people of Kerala are suffering due to the successive corrupt and incompetent governments led by UDF and LDF. People in Kerala will benefit only if the cycle of consecutive LDF and UDF governments is broken. LDF is known for looting through gold; UDF’s identity is from solar power loot,” he further alleged.

“I have come here to seek your blessings to stop this looting game. I need your blessings and support to overthrow the corrupt governments in Kerala,” said Modi.

Also Read: Electoral bonds data exposes BJP’s ‘corrupt tactics’: Congress

Cites Union government schemes

He pointed out the number of people who benefited from the Union government projects like Jal Jeevan Mission, Kisan Samman Nidhi and Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.

He also briefed about the steps taken by his government for the repatriation of people from various countries during different crises.

“In the last ten years, we have made all efforts for every category of people in every area as much as possible. We brought back nurses from Iraq who were stuck in a war. We brought back priests who were stuck amid a crisis. During Covid, Indians were brought back from every part of the world because wherever even one Indian was in trouble, our government stood with them strongly. This is Modiyude guarantee‘ (Modi’s guarantee’),” he said.

The meeting was also attended by NDA’s Lok Sabha candidates V Muraleedharan (Attingal), Sobha Surendran (Alappuzha), and Baiju Kalasala (Mavelikkara), among other leaders.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)