BJP-led NDA in Kerala will bring in a “law to prevent love jihad” in the state if voted to power in the 6 April assembly election, as such cases are “more prevalent” here than in Uttar Pradesh, the party’s state head K Surendran said today. The term “love jihad” was coined first by Christians of Kerala in the period 2005-10 on noticing hundreds of cases where Muslim men waylaid Christian girls with the promise of marriage to effect a demographic change in the state. However, over a period of another decade, the pattern has been observed across India, with Muslims now attempting it more on the Hindu population.
The comment from the Kerala head of the BJP comes three days after Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and the party’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath slammed the Pinarayi Vijayan government for not taking action against the perpetrators of love jihad.
Subsequently, E ‘Metro Man’ Sreedharan, while joining the Kerala unit of the BJP, acknowledged that love jihad was a big issue in his home state.
The Kerala BJP chief said the Christian community was now more worried about the practice as they were reportedly being targeted. Seeking stringent action against the scourge, Surendran said, “Love jihad is more prevalent in Kerala than in Uttar Pradesh and a law is required to prevent it.”
“The Christian community in the state is worried and have sought stringent action against love jihad. This is of serious concern for them,” Surendran told reporters in Palakkad.
BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh had earlier legislated “religious freedom” laws to stop conversions through marriage or by any fraudulent means. Asked about senior BJP leader Shobha Surendran”s recent statement that IUML was welcome to the NDA if they were to leave behind their “communal agenda” and accept the leadership and policies of the Narendra Modi-led government, the Kerala BJP chief said the party would join hands only with those who left their affiliation with the IUML, INC and CPI(M).
“The BJP in Kerala will not join hands with the IUML, CPI (M) and the Congress. We will accept only those who leave their affiliation with these parties,” Surendran said. He was speaking to reporters at a press meet at the end of the Palakkad leg of the 15-day statewide “Vijay Yatra”, which got underway at Kasaragod on 21 February, which was seen as the official launch of the BJP”s poll campaign.
Various union ministers and popular leaders and star campaigners of the BJP’s are expected to join the yatra in the coming days Union Minister Amit Shah is expected to inaugurate the finale of the yatra at Thiruvananthapuram on 7 March, party sources said.
Kerala is among the states where the BJP is trying to make a mark while it is much ahead as a challenger for power in West Bengal. Andhra Pradesh is another state where the party is trying to make significant inroads after decades of occupying the backseat and letting former ally TDP grow at its cost.
In Kerala, where the BJP’s ideological parent RSS has a remarkable presence, the Sangh Parivar had deisted from entering the electoral fray, believing that the CPI(M), which it now accuses of attacking its cadre off and on, was drawing the Hindu votes while the Muslim and Christian votes went to the INC-led UDF. The Sangh believed that turning the contest tripolar would divide the Hindu votes, thus benefiting the INC. The BJP had had a rethink on the issue some years ago.