Rajagopal: No place for beef politics in Kerala

Neelu Vyas

BJP’s only legislator in the Kerala, O Rajagopal says RSS agenda is a national agenda but there is no place for cow, beef and Hindutva politics in a state like Kerala.

In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Rajagopal has said that each state and area has its own problem, and that politics is about prioritising the needs in the state.

The octagenarian leader said that BJP’s vote share in Kerala has risen and this is gradually changing the political matrix in the state. He emphasised that people of Kerala have got bored of the Left and the Congress and hence are looking for a vibrant change.

Rajagopal said that that now BJP was bracing up for the next battle of 2019 and 20121 in the state.

On being asked about how despite the big win he got for BJP, he still is a side-lined leader, Rajagopal said that the party was right in paving way for the younger generations and he will continue to nurture his constituency of Nemom till the time he can.

Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:

Has your entry in Kerala Assembly totally changed the political matrix in Kerala?

It is changing fast. Now you see a different voice, a different vision, different viewpoint is being projected. You know the political situation in Kerala, the left front and the Congress front – they share more or less similar viewpoints in every issue, specially the national issues. There is another viewpoint that I am presenting, so that is something new.

What is that other viewpoint?

Both the Left front and the Congress front oppose Narendra Modi total unanimity. Whatever he does, only negatives are spoken about. Now I have got the chance to present the positive aspect, the other viewpoint, so that is the basic difference basically which is not heard.

You are the only political representative of the BJP in the Kerala assembly, is the party according you that kind of importance?

Surely, why not…certainly. But you know I am only confined to my work in the assembly. I have to look after my constituency and the work going on there….So I am more active in the legislative work, nursing the constituency. And of course for major political functions is m there.

Your opponents say that at the age of 85 -86, you are not expected to be very loud. If you are not loud then you are not heard inside the assembly, you are not heard by the people…

My sound is shrill, I don’t shout, but there is a mic, that carries my message. People listen to that.

BJP legislator from Kerala, O Rajagopal speaking to RSTV's Neelu Vyas.

BJP legislator from Kerala, O Rajagopal speaking to RSTV’s Neelu Vyas.

I will not name the BJP leader who shared this with me – that Rajagopal was a sacrificial lamb for BJP, whenever BJP wanted you to fight elections you fought them…

I was given a job of taking up the message of BJP, and made sure that the BJP got the representation in the assembly. It is a mandate to me. As you rightly said, they said and I contested. That’s what I have learned from my political guru, Mr Deen Dayal Upadhayay, whom I met in 1960. He taught me that one has to fight every election because that is when people actually think seriously about political issues. Otherwise, they are worried about their personal problems. During this period you should be in the field.

Your party has got a foothold in Kerala, what is the next goal post for BJP – is it the 2019 election or the larger battle ahead?

The first test comes at the next assembly elections. At the Lok Sabha elections, we will have representation of the BJP. That is our first preference.

When you talk about the larger battles, 2019 and 2021 – the Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections, do you think it is an easy task for BJP where CPM has strongly established itself?

The situation is emerging in our favour day by day. The situation of Kerala is that it is divided by two fronts, Left & Congress. They have been given equal chances of rule if we see the past 50 years; they got equal chances to rule. Now it has become very evident that there is nothing to choose from them. So now people are interested in having a third front. Now we have shown that we can win in this situation also and also in the capital.

So, in Kerala where you have a literate population, what will be party plank for elections?

We are not bothered about communal politics. Polarization is emerging. 40% of the electorate belong to minority communities –  Muslims and Christians. And the majority is divided into caste. This is the situation in Kerala. Now, because of the anti-Hindu stance of both the fronts, the reaction is slowly growing in Kerala.

So far don’t you think the Left Front has shown themselves as the viable options as a Hindu party, your task will still remain unfinished.

They never say that they are Hindu party. They are ashamed to be called Hindus. They are not prepared to say that because their masters Karl Marx don’t allow them to. The capitalist and the labourers, that is their outlook, which is unscientific.

Who is BJP’s primary enemy? Is it LDF or UDF?

Primary thing is Congress is not a powerful party now. They are sustaining because of those 50% of the minority votes. They are well organized. Congress goes out of its way to please them. So they are completely dependent on minorities. Now you can see that they are quarrelling with three groups in Kerala. Their influence is going down. This election, their vote count has gone down by 6%. And also Marxist party won the election in general. Their vote strength has gone down by 1%. It is only BJP whose vote count has gone up.

In the next 5 years, will BJP take over Congress and become the primary rival to LDF?

We hope so.

There is a lot of groupism & factionalism in Congress, but there is also a report that BJP played factionalism too?

In any mass party, groupism is likely. It has gone to such an extent that it cannot go back. They are fighting like cats in the streets.

Is it all well between you and the state president?

We have got good relations. He has got great mass support.

You don’t believe that BJP has camps like Kumaran Chandrashekharan camps?

I don’t have a camp. I am with BJP only. BJP stands for certain basic principles based on Dharma. This is what I have learnt from my political gurus.

There is a universal worry throughout the country that the BJP is putting in RSS agenda in the state?

RSS agenda is the national agenda – we are one people and one country. We are one nation. What is wrong in that?

Will you implement cow politics and Hindutva?

In our manifesto there is no mention of cow. That kind of politics has no role in Kerala.

Do you think that RSS people of Kerala have a nature of beef eating people?

There are. Many RSS people concern me. They are also there in Kerala. You don’t know the ground reality of Kerala.

In a state like UP you can divide people in names of beef eating, ram temple, so you have chosen not to talk about it?

Each sate and area has its own problem. It’s on priorities, we go by that. When you see that Hindus in Kerala has become the second class citizens.

You don’t have strong line of leaders?

You can’t say that we don’t have strong leaders; you can say we don’t have well known leaders like the Congress.