Kerala: Political history

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’Demographics’: important caste and religious groups in politics

As in 2024

Shaju Philip, April 25, 2024: The Indian Express

Various castes and communities in Kerala play a crucial role in driving the politics of the leading parties and their alliances. In the election season, from the selection of candidates to the framing of planks to running of their campaigns, the interests and concerns of such communities are factored in by the parties as part of their strategies to retain vote banks and expand bases to the rival turfs in the state.


The single largest Hindu community in Kerala, Ezhavas make up about 23% population of the state. The Ezhava community belonging to the OBC category has traditionally been a part of the ruling CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s vote bank.

The community’s largest outfit SNDP Yogam floated a political party, Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), in 2015. The BDJS has been an ally of the BJP-led NDA in the state since the 2016 Assembly polls. However, the BJP has not been able to make inroads into the Ezhava community through the BDJS mainly because the latter’s grassroots level workers are the SNDP Yogam’s members, who are associated with various parties, especially the CPI(M).

During the BJP-led agitation against the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple in 2018, the BDJS backed the protesters. However, the BDJS patron and SNDP Yogam general secretary, Vellappally Natesan, remained with the CPI(M)-led government’s “renaissance movement platform” formed to counter the Sabarimala agitation. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BDJS contested, unsuccessfully, 4 seats out of 20, but got only 1.88% of votes. Its ally BJP contested 15 seats, but again failed to open its account while getting 13% votes.

In the 2021 Assembly elections, the BDJS contested 21 out of 140 seats, but its vote share dipped further to 1.06%. The BJP contested 113 seats, but drew a blank while its vote share fell to 11.30%. In many of these seats, the LDF emerged victorious or improved its vote share as compared to the previous elections.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the BDJS is again contesting 4 seats as compared to the BJP’s 16 seats. BDJS chairman Thushar Vellappally is in the fray from Kottayam while BJP leader and Union minister V Muraleedharan is contesting from the Attingal seat, where Ezhavas form a sizeable chunk of the voters.


Muslims are the second-largest religious community in the state, making up 26% of its population. The Muslim community politics in Kerala has been traditionally dominated by the IUML, an ally of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). The churning in the community in the last two decades have led to formation of several parties and splinter groups, but they have remained behind the IUML, which is part of mainstream politics at the state and national levels.

The Muslim voters play a decisive mainly in the North Kerala constituencies of Wayanad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Vadakara, Kannur, Ponnani and Kasaragod.

The CPI (M) has been trying to make inroads into the community, mainly targeting Sunni Muslims, who have been closely associated with the IUML. The Muslim vote especially assumes significance in this election with the concerns over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) turning into a major election issue in the state. Both the CPI(M) and the Congress have positioned themselves aggressively against the BJP, even as they are also taking on each other in the state while being the INDIA alliance partners at the national level.


The other minority community, Christians, which form 18% of the state’s population, has also been traditionally with the Congress. However, the decline of the regional Christian party Kerala Congress groups and the exits or deaths of the Congress’s key Christian faces have led to the BJP launching an outreach to the community.

In Central Kerala’s constituencies where the Christian vote is pivotal, the Congress and CPI(M) have vied with each other to take over the community vote bases from the Kerala Congress factions.

Among Christians, Catholics are the dominant group. While the Catholic Church has been grappling with some internal administrative issues, there have been differences between the Jacobite and Orthodox Churches over the control of certain churches.

There seems to be some resentment among a section of Christians over the bids of both the Congress and the CPI(M) to woo Muslims. The upper caste Chrisian groups have also been concerned with the Congress’s pitch for a national caste census.

This has given an opportunity to the BJP and the Sangh Parivar to make attempts to reach out to the Christian community.

The Manipur ethnic strife raging since May last year has however dealt a blow to the BJP’s bid to connect with Kerala’s Christians. The state’s Churches as well as dioceses seem to be divided on their approach towards the BJP in light of the Manipur crisis.


The upper caste Hindu Nair community, which accounts for about 14% of Kerala’s population, is an influential group which has a strong representation in politics and governance. The community’s outfit Nair Service Society (NSS) had a political wing, National Democratic Party, which had been part of the UDF. It was dissolved in 1995 when the Congress was in power. The NSS has since officially stuck to its position of being “politically equidistant” from the parties. In the current Pinarayi Vijayan Cabinet, seven out of 21 ministers are Nairs, although the NSS leadership was believed to have been against the CPI(M) in the 2021 polls.

Recently, the NSS leadership hailed three-time MP Shashi Tharoor as an “original Nair”. Tharoor is contesting again as the Congress’s candidate from Thiruvananthapuram, where the Nair vote is considered a key factor.

The state Congress leadership also has other prominent Nair faces such as K C Venugopal, Ramesh Chennithala and K Muraleedharan.

Tharoor is taking on high-profile BJP candidate and Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who is also a Nair. In Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam seats too, the Nair community plays a decisive role in determining the poll outcome. The BJP’s candidate in Thrissur is actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi, who also belongs to the Nair community.


The Scheduled Castes (SCs) form about 9% of the state’s population, who have been mainly associated with the CPI(M) and the Congress through various organisations. Alalthur and Mavelikkara are two SC-reserved seats.

Six-time Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh, who is contesting from Mavelikkara, is the prominent Dalit politician from the Congress.

State minister K Radhakrishhan, who is contesting from the Alathur seat, is a leading Dalit face in the CPI(M). While Suresh is an invitee to the Congress Working Committee, Radhakrishan is a CPI(M) Central Committee member.

Governor versus state government/chief minister


BS AnilKumar, Oct 19, 2022: The Times of India

A brief history of the Kerala Governor's many run-ins with the LDF government
From: Oct 19, 2022: The Times of India

Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s Twitter threat to sack LDF ministers “lowering the dignity” of his office and the CPM politburo’s r etort a bout his “ dictatorial” ways on Tuesday escalated into open confrontation, feeding on a false start in 2019 that festered for three years before blowing up.

Several cabinet members jumped into the fray after Khan’ s tweet fuelled the constant undercurrent of acrimony, directly or obliquely accusing him of now trying to unconstitutionally impose his writ on the government. Khan’s allegedly provocati ve social media messaging came a day after he removed15 members of the Kerala University senate on Sunday for skipping a meeting convened in his capacity as chancellor of the institution.

Three years ago, it was an episode at another university — at Kannur — that seemed to ignite the blowhot-blow-cold relationship between the governor and the LDF government. Khan had just repl aced Justice P Sathasivam at Raj Bhavan when his views on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019 put him on a collision course with the Vijayangovernment. He was at the 80th edition of the Indian History Congr ess in Kannur university, of which he is the chancellor, when a group of delegates led by historian Irfan Habib allegedly heckled himas he was defending CAA in response to the former’s speech. 
Kha later refused to read out an anti-CAA reference in the governor’s address to the state assembly. Although he relented at the CM’s pleading, ties between them ostensibly never healed.

Khan, who had all along been silent on the protest he faced at Kannur University, raised the issue only after the hullabaloo over the inflight protest against CM Vijayan by two Youth Congress workers last July. He claimed the “protocol violation” at the history congress was part of a planned attempt on his life and criticised the state government for not initiating police action against Habib and others.

Lok Sabha


LDF loses traditional Hindu vote banks to BJP

June 6, 2024: The Times of India

Kochi: The ruling LDF won only one seat out of 20 in Kerala despite a very efficient campaign and fielding heavy-hitter candidates in several key constituencies. Also, unlike in 2019, there was no discernible proUDF wave nor a burning issue like Sabarimala, which makes the LDF rout this time something of a political conundrum.

Interestingly, after the 2019 LS poll debacle, CPM’s central committee had advised the state leadership to formulate a strategy to win over traditional Hindu vote banks.

The 2024 results in constituencies such as Alappuzha and Attingal show that the voting of a major section of Ezhava community — considered the backbone of the party — in favour of BJP affected the prospects of LDF candidates. The LDF’s vote share has dropped by just 2% — in 2019 it was 35.3% while this time it is 33.3%. As per Election Commission data, CPM vote share this time is 25.82% (51,00,964 votes) while vote share for CPI, the second biggest partner in LDF, is 6.14% (12,12,197 votes).

The erosion of votes has happened in Left strongholds. For instance, in a party bastion like Thaliparamba in Kannur, represented by CPM state secretary MV Govindan in the assembly, UDF candidate K Sudhakaran managed to secure a lead of 8,787 votes. While LDF had secured 80,719 votes in the assembly segment in the 2019 LS election, it has come down to 75,544 votes this time. Also, LDF’s Kannur candidate MV Jayarajan could secure only wafer-thin leads of just 2,616 votes in Dharmadom where CM Pinarayi Vijayan had won with a margin of over 50,123 votes in 2021 assembly polls and 3,034 votes in Mat- tannur from where former health minister K K Shailaja won by the record margin of over 60,000 votes. In 10 constituencies, Left candidates were defeated by a whopping margin of over 1 lakh votes.

Political observers feel that the vote erosion in Left strongholds cannot be viewed as part of the traditional pattern where people generally prefer UDF in Parliament elections and has more to do with antiincumbency against the Left govt in the state.

Also, the CPM campaign’s excessive focus on Muslim votes and underpinning its entire campaign on issues like CAA, the Gaza invasion and Uniform Civil code backfired. The party failed to win a single seat out of eight in the Malabar region that stretches from Kasargod to Palakkad, where all seats have over 25% Muslim population.

Minority communities

Political importance, 2024

Rajeev K R & Jaikrishnan Nair, TNN, April 24, 2024: The Times of India

Districts in Kerala where minority communities are in the majority, 2024
From: Rajeev K R & Jaikrishnan Nair, TNN, April 24, 2024: The Times of India

The quest for minority votes has been the holy grail for political parties in Kerala during elections, more so this time with BJP emerging a strong contender in the state. Congressled UDF and CPM-led LDF are battling it out on who can stand up against the “communal fascist agenda” of the Sangh Parivar.

In Malabar districts, not a single night has passed since the Centre notified the rules of Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on March 16 without political parties hitting the streets with flaming torches and chanting spirited anti-CAA slogans. Such aggressive wooing of minority issues is not surprising as Muslim and Christian communities together account for 44.9% of the state’s population as per the 2011 Census and political parties say that the figure would have only increased.

In the larger Malabar region, which has eight constituencies spanning from Palakkad in the geographical centre of the state to the northernmost district of Kasaragod, all the seats have over 25% Muslim population — Kasaragod (30.8% approx), Kannur (26% approx), Vadakara (31.2%), Kozhikode (36.7%), Wayanad (41%), Malappuram (68%), Ponnani (62.4%) and Palakkad (29.4%). Also, when the Christian community is taken into consideration, 13 out of the state’s 20 seats have a minority population share of over 35%. There are six seats in the state where the Christian population has an over 20% share, mostly in the southern half of the state, the highest being in Idukki (41.8%) and Pathanamthitta (39.6%).

The state’s history reveals that every time there has been even a flutter in minority voting behaviour, the electoral impact has been tectonic for both LDF and UDF. For instance, in the 2019 parliamentary elections, UDF won 19 of the 20 seats powered by the consolidation of Muslim and Christian votes, aided by the Wayanad candidature of Rahul Gandhi, who was projected as the future Prime Minister. According to a Lokniti CSDS post-poll survey, UDF secured 65% of Muslim votes and 70% of Christian votes while LDF got only 28% and 24%, respectively, in 2019.

After LDF’s debacle in the 2019 LS polls, the tables turned in the 2021 assembly elections, which marked the first instance of LDF tasting success in their minority outreach and efforts to develop a trust factor. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan himself spearheaded the 2019 antiCAA movement with his announcement that it won’t be implemented in the state and the assembly passed a unanimous resolution against the Act. The election saw both Muslims and Christians warming up to LDF and helped it script an encore for the first time in the state’s electoral history by bagging 99 seats and reducing UDF to 41 seats. According to the postpoll CSDS Lokniti survey held in May 2021, there was an uptick in both Muslim and Christian votes for LDF — from 35% in the 2016 assembly elections to 39% in 2021.

Knowing well that Muslim votes could be a determining factor, both UDF and LDF have decided to focus on the fear and apprehensions about CAA and NRC and BJP’s promise of implementing a uniform civil code. Congress is trying to appeal to minorities that as the prime opponent of BJP with a panIndia presence, it is the best bet against Sangh Parivar politics. It is also claiming that there is a tacit understanding between CPM and BJP to cover up corruption charges against top CPM leaders. On the other hand, CPM’s campaign has been focused on hammering in the message to minorities that Congress can’t be trusted. It has been harping on the highprofile defections of 12 former CMs from Congress across the country to BJP, and the switching of sides by the son of A K Antony and the daughter of K Karunakaran. Also, in the race for minority votes, CPM has been wooing IUML supporters by saying the party is getting a raw deal in UDF. At the same time, CPM is supporting IUML detractors in Samastha Kerala Sunni Jamiyyathul Ulema, the influential body of Sunni scholars.

Christians, traditionally, are a guaranteed vote bank for UDF. Leaders like the late Oommen Chandy had very close links with all church leaders though now, UDF doesn’t have leaders of that stature to keep this relationship going. While the majority of the church denominations is not happy with the governing LDF, it is not clear if they would tilt fully to UDF this time too. However, Fr Antony Vadakkekara VC, public relations officer of the Syro-Malabar church, said that the church never takes a political stand during elections — “we only want all our members to exercise their voting rights. They are free to decide who to vote for” — he listed some issues that Christian voters should give priority to. Human-animal conflict in places close to forest regions, fall in rubber price, liquor policy of LDF govt, the approach of the Centre towards the farmers’ strike, backdoor appointments in public services and, last but not least, the alleged persecution of Christians in Manipur and other places are some of the issues the church is raising.

There are roughly over 50 lakh Syro-Malabar Catholics in the state and around 5-6 lakh abroad. The strongholds of the church are Ernakulam, Chalakkudy, Thrissur, Kottayam, Mavelikkara and Pathanamthitta. They are also strong in certain pockets in Vadakara, Calicut and Kannur. Latin Catholics, who have a strong presence in the coastal areas, too have raised a few issues with the state govt and the opposition.

“Based on the response to our demands from either parties, we will take a final decision,” said Sherry J Thomas, state president of Kerala Latin Christian Association. There are around 20 lakh Latin Catholics and are a force to reckon with in the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha and Kochi.

The feud between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara church is another decisive factor in Ernakulam, Pathanamthitta and Mavelikkara. Though the Orthodox church has not taken a public stand, the recent speech by the CM favouring the Church Act during a Jacobite church function in Kochi has not gone down well. The presence of various Pentecostal groups, especially in Pathanamthitta and Mavelikkara, cannot be seen lightly. Similarly, Mar Thoma church in Pathanamathitta and the CSI church in Idukki are also decisive.


Sabarimla impact: Left loses post in panchayat polls

November 28, 2018: The Times of India

Kerala Janapaksham won the vice-president’s post in Poonjar panchayat with the support of BJP. Both parties are on the same page on the Sabarimala issue. Soon after the victory, Kerala Janapaksham leader PC George said there would be cooperation between two parties at the state level.

George said he would request the Speaker to allot a separate block for him and BJP MLA O Rajagopal in the assembly so that they can be seated together. “We have reached an understanding for floor-level cooperation in the assembly. On Sabarimala, we share a similar view. We would like to extend that cooperation. We jointly walked out from the all-party meeting convened by CM Pinarayi Vijayan to discuss the Sabarimala issue,” said BJP state chief P S Sreedharan Pillai.

George’s constituency Poonjar is en route to Sabarimala. Therefore, BJP is aware that his support is vital for its prospects in this region. George can also act as a bridge between BJP and prominent Christian denominations and help the party widen its base.

George had said he didn’t treat BJP as a troublesome party. “We tried to forge an alliance with all parties and only BJP responded. That doesn’t mean we will join BJP; there will be an understanding for the time being,” he said. Janapaksham candidate Leelamma Chacko – who represents Valathookku ward – was elected with the support of Congress and the lone BJP member.

…but wins 21 of the 39 local body wards

In bypolls, LDF wins Sabari town’s faith, December 1, 2018: The Times of India

With victory in 21 of the 39 local body wards where bypolls were held in Kerala, the ruling LDF proved the gamble it took in the Sabarimala women entry issue has not set it back. On the pre-poll scoresheet too, LDF had 21 seats. BJP won two new seats but lost a sitting one to LDF.

The campaign for the bypolls was as fiery as any general election as it took place in the swirling controversy around entry of women of all ages to the Sabarimala temple. The CPM-led LDF campaigned hard to convince voters about the position the Pinarayi Vijayan government took while Congressled UDF and BJP tried to cash in on religious sentiments hurt of reportedly the majority Hindu community.

BJP, which won two panchayat wards in Alappuzha district, cut a sorry figure in neighbouring Pathanamthitta district, where Sabarimala temple is located. In Pandalam municipality, the nerve centre of Sabarimala protest organised by Hindu outfits, BJP nominee polled 12 votes in the Kadakkad division, where SDPI, the political party of Muslim group NDF, emerged winner.

The loser in the polls was the Congress-led UDF which won 11 wards, losing five from its pre-poll tally of 16. SDPI won two seats against one it previously held. Independents won three wards. Tho- ugh LDF celebrates its win, vote shares of BJP and SDPI have grown substantially in at least some pockets.

BJP, which won two panchayat wards in Alappuzha, cut a sorry figure in Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala temple is located.


Election expenses of BJP, Congress, CPM

March 26, 2021: The Times of India

2019 LS Elections: expenses of BJP, Congress, CPM
From: Aswin J Kumar, March 26, 2021: The Times of India

Kerala elections: BJP spent Rs 43 crore in 2016, won 1 seat; CPM Rs 11 crore, Congress Rs 9 crore

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP, which won a single seat in 2016 assembly polls, had pumped in more than double the total funds spent by CPM and CPI, according to an analysis of expenditure statements filed by parties with the Election Commission of India. The collective amount spent by CPM, CPI and Congress was way lower than BJP’s total expenditure in 2016 elections.

BJP’s total expenditure for Kerala assembly polls, including that of central headquarters and state unit stood at Rs 43.37 crore in 2016. The cumulative expenditure of CPM, CPI and Congress in the state was less than Rs 30 crore. CPM and CPI collectively spent Rs 19 crore while Congress recorded an expenditure of nearly Rs 10 crore.

BJP paid an amount of Rs 13.5 crore as total lump sum payments to candidates. It spent a total of Rs 28 crore on candidates, which also included expenses on media advertisement, publicity materials, vehicles, rallies, and processions.

BJP candidate A Rajasenan (Aruvikkara) received the highest share of the lump sum; Rs 21 lakh, while O Rajagopal, Nemom candidate, who got elected to the assembly, received just Rs 1,032, the lowest of all contributions.

V Unnikrishnan Master who contested from Kottakkal also received a sizable contribution of Rs 19.49 lakh from the party. Star campaigners of BJP paid 264 visits to various constituencies, which cost Rs 1.31 crore as taxi and helicopter charges. As many as 660 public meetings/conventions were organized at a cost of Rs 2.63 crore by BJP.

BJP central headquarters had spent Rs 14.75 crore on general party propaganda and Rs 5.64 crore on travel expenses of star campaigners. Amit Shah, along with others visited Kerala four times for the campaign and these visits cost the party Rs 1.05 crore.

The saffron outfit spent Rs 8.41 crore on media advertisement. More than half a crore was spent on public meetings/processions/rallies. BJP state unit received Rs 7 crore from central headquarters in two installments. The state unit spent Rs 14.1 crore for general party propaganda for which Rs 2.63 crore was spent on media advertisement and Rs 6 crore on publicity materials. It spent Rs 2.63 crore on public meetings, rallies and processions and had Rs 3.96 crore as balance at the completion of the election.

CPM had gross receipts of Rs 28.79 crore from all sources from the announcement of the election to the date of completion of the election in 2016. The state unit of the party incurred an expenditure of Rs 11 crore for general party propaganda of which Rs 10 crore was spent on media advertisement and Rs 92 lakh on publicity materials.

The party spent only Rs 2.32 lakh on the travel expense of star campaigners. CPM spent Rs 11.5 lakh as total lump sum payments to candidates. It had nine-star campaigners in 2016. As per the statement, three candidates, P Sreeramakrishnan, K Nishanth and VKC Mohammedkoya were given lump-sum payments.

Congress spent Rs 8.7 crore as a total lump sum payment to candidates, distributing Rs 10 lakh each to all of them. The total amount spent by the party on general party propaganda was Rs 41.06 lakh.

CPI had 27 candidates in 2016 and spent a total amount of Rs 8.27 crore. An amount of Rs 93.5 lakh was spent as cash distribution through district secretaries.

The party spent Rs 6.21 crore for general party propaganda and Rs 2.06 crore on candidates. It had Rs 7.5 crore as receipts from the date of announcement to the date of completion of the election.


 Kerala Cong (M) faction breaks 38-year-old UDF ties to join LDF

October 15, 2020: The Times of India

Kerala Cong (M) faction breaks 38-year-old UDF ties to join LDF


The Jose K Mani faction in Kerala Congress (M) will join the governing Left Democratic Front (LDF), ending its 38-year-long ties with the United Democratic Front (UDF). The other faction is led by PJ Joseph and both the factions have been claiming to be the real KC (M).

Holding a press conference at the party headquarters in Kottayam on Wednesday, Jose Mani said KC (M) has decided to work jointly with LDF based on its policies. “We will work jointly for the farmers... Only LDF can defeat the communal forces and preserve secularism... The party steering committee has decided to initiate discussions regarding this,” he said.

Jose claimed that the party decision would determine the future politics in Kerala. “We haven’t talked to LDF regarding the sharing of seats. We announced our political stand. We will wait for the LDF response and talks will begin after they respond,” he said. Jose announced that he would quit the Rajya Sabha membership in keeping with ethical values, both political and individual. However, he ruled out Thomas Chazhikadan quitting as Kottayam MP.


Lok Sabha elections


June 5, 2024: The Times of India

The seats won by and the vote share of the various parties in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 and 2024 in Kerala
From: June 5, 2024: The Times of India

Kochi: UDF won 18 out of 20 seats in Kerala, almost mirroring its 19-1 sweep in 2019, but the jubilation was overshadowed by nothing short of a historic BJP win in Thrissur, a prestigious constituency with almost 50% minority votes and where the three-cornered contest was supposed to underline that, try as they might, the saffron party’s polarising politics had no place in this ‘progressive’ state.

The UDF won by an above-1 lakh margin in 11 of 18 constituencies, including in Wayanad where Rahul Gandhi trumped his nearest rival Annie Raja of CPI by 3,64,422 votes. UDF’s second-biggest partner Muslim League retained its stranglehold on its fiefs Malappuram and Ponnani—winning by margins of 2,98,303 and 2,34,778 votes, respectively—amidst speculation that LDF was making substantial inroads among Malabar Muslims. In Thiruvananthapuram, three-time Congress MP Shashi Tharoor survived an early scare by finally defeating his nearest rival Rajeev Chandrasekhar of BJP by 15,000 votes, a steep fall from his handsome 90,000 plus margin in 2019.

The LDF, in contrast, barely saved face with a win at the Alathur reserved seat where KRadhakrishnan, a minister in the Pinarayi cabinet, won by 19,587 votes and came excruciatingly close at Attingal, its candidate losing by just 1,708 votes. Alathur, interestingly, also saw the largest number of NOTA votes in the state at 12,033. The LDF’s Lok Sabha campaign, led by the chief minister from the front, had banked on an aggressive strategy to cast itself as the sole protector of minorities and champion of secularism but failed miserably.

The bulk of Muslim and Christian votes appeared to have gone UDF’s way.
 BJP-led NDA had put up a stiff fight in all 20 constituencies this time and had expected to come a close second in Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur. In the event, actorturned politician Suresh Gopi’s triumph in Thrissur by a margin of 74,686 votes was as surprising as sensational.

Surprising, because he was ranged against two formidable candidates, while 39% of the electorate in the constituency comprises minority votes—16% Christian and 23% Muslim votes. BJP had pursued an aggressive statewide strategy of seeking Christian support and it appears to have paid dividends, especially among its more affluent sections in Thrissur.

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