With Kerala set to elect a new assembly on Monday, the performance of the BJP-BDJS alliance is being keenly watched—because it may ultimately decide who wins the electoral battle.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is fighting the election in alliance with the recently floated Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), the political wing of the Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapalli Natesan.
The BJP is contesting 98 and the BDJS 37 of the 140 seats.
Although CPI-M general secretary Sitaram Yechuri has predicted a zero tally for the BJP-BDJS alliance, he has hinted at a "match fixing" between the Congress and the newly formed combine.
Although it has never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, the BJP doubled the total number of seats in last year's local body polls to around 1,100 as compared to 2010.
Its vote share also touched 14 per cent.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP vote share touched 10.83 per cent, up from 6.03 per cent in the 2011 assembly polls.
In the 2011 assembly polls, the BJP contested 139 of the 140 seats and finished runners up in three constituencies. All three candidates got more than 40,000 votes. In the rest the BJP finished a poor third.
In 18 assembly constituencies in 2011, BJP candidates got between 10,000 and 19,000 votes, two got more than 20,000 votes and the rest had to be content with less than 10,000 votes.
Now with the alliance between the BJP and BDJS, Sobha Surendran, the BJP woman leader locked in a fierce triangular fight in Palakkad, told IANS that the CPI-M will be the biggest looser in the election.
The BDJS claims the support of the Hindu Ezhava community that forms more than 50 per cent of the 1.82 crore Hindu population in Kerala.
All these years, a huge majority of the Ezhavas voted for the Left Democratic Front. This could change this time, and this factor is making the Congress-led UDF happy too.
The best showing for the BDJS could come from Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki districts.
And the BJP is sure that with the BDJS' help, the 'lotus' will finally bloom in Kerala.