India Elections 2024

Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency is witnessing a three-cornered fight among Shashi Tharoor (Congress), Rajeev Chandrasekhar (BJP) and Panniyan Raveendran (CPI)

By T A Ameerudheen

Published On 22 Apr 2024 - Al Jazeera

....Kerala’s distinctive demographic makeup is a key reason why the BJP’s increase in voting percentage has so far not translated into seats nationally.

Hindus constitute 55 percent of the state’s population, followed by Muslims at 27 percent and Christians at 18 percent. Together, the two minority groups make up nearly half – 45 percent – of the population, making them formidable forces in elections. The lack of trust among the minorities towards the BJP, which champions a Hindu majoritarian agenda, makes it difficult for the party to gain traction in Kerala.

“Though the BJP’s vote share has been increasing steadily, it cannot win even a single parliament seat because of demography,” K M Sajad Ibrahim, a professor of political science at Kerala University, told Al Jazeera.

The BJP has traditionally struggled to even win the Hindu vote in the state. In 2019, for instance, both the Nairs and the historically marginalised Ezhava – the largest Hindu group in the state – were split three ways between the UDF, the LDF and the BJP. Just 2 percent of the religious minorities voted for Modi’s party in the last election.

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By T A Ameerudheen

Published On 24 Apr 2024

Al Jazeera

...Unlike many other countries, India does not have voting at its overseas embassies. That means members of the diaspora need to travel back to India to cast their ballots.

Most do not do this. Of the 13.4 million Indian citizens who live abroad, only 118,439 – less than 1 percent – have registered to vote this year, according to India’s Election Commission. And only a fraction of them will likely actually vote. In the last national election in 2019, of the 99,844 expatriate voters, only 25,606 exercised took part.

Almost all of them were from Kerala...

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TA Ameerudheen

Apr 25, 2024 · 06:30 am

...The growing disenchantment within the Billava community poses a significant challenge for the BJP, not just in the Dakshina Kannada constituency, but in the wider coastal region.

While Billava voters constitute about 25% of the electorate in the Dakshina Kannada constituency, in neighbouring Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency, they have about 10% of the vote share, according to political observers. The BJP has nominated Kota Srinivasa Poojary, a Billava, for this seat, while the Congress has put forward Jayaprakash Hegde, a member of the Bunt community. Both constituencies will cast their votes in the second phase of polling on April 26.

In Uttara Kannada, the third constituency in the coastal belt, which votes in the third phase on May 7, Billavas are known as Namdharis. They constitute about 20% of the population.

In Dakshina Kannada, the Congress candidate, Poojary, expressed confidence about securing a victory. “I anticipate support from all communities,” he said...

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TA Ameerudheen
Apr 20, 2024 · 06:30 am

...Out of the 28 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka, the Janata Dal (Secular) is contesting three on its own symbol. Two of these have been given to members from the Deve Gowda family. Kumaraswamy, the son of the party founder HD Deve Gowda, is running from the party’s stronghold of Mandya. Gowda’s grandson, Prajwal Revanna, is seeking re-election from Hassan. In the Kolar constituency, which is reserved for members of the scheduled castes, the party has nominated M Mallesh Babu.

The biggest surprise was the decision to field Gowda’s son-in-law, CN Manjunath, as a BJP candidate from the Bengaluru Rural constituency. This was the only constituency in Karnataka that the Congress managed to win in 2019...

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TA Ameerudheen
May 06, 2024 · 06:30 am

...Drought looms large as a crucial election concern across most of North Karnataka. Though the Union government on April 26 released Rs 3,454 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund to help relieve the drought, the amount forms a mere 20% of the Rs 18,174 crore requested by Karnataka.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah aid that the amount was “woefully inadequate”.

Priyank Kharge, Karnataka’s Minister for Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Rural Development, who is heading the Congress campaign in Kalaburagi, believes that voters will respond to what he says is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s lack of support for the state in this time of crisis.

“The BJP takes votes and notes [taxes] from Kannadigas, but gives nothing in return,” he declared. “The BJP government at the Centre was forced to release a paltry amount only after the state government approached the Supreme Court. It is a shame.”

BJP officials denied the accusation. They said that the Central government had to get special permission from the Election Commission to release the funds. “This action was taken despite the presence of the Election Code of Conduct and its associated restrictions,” said state party chief BY Vijayendra...

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News|Israel War on Gaza

The southern Indian state’s political parties, activists and Muslim groups have held rallies and events, demanding immediate ceasefire by Israel.

By T A Ameerudheen

Published On 15 Nov 2023

...Long before the Gulf migration began, public intellectuals in Kerala had been following the sociopolitical developments in the tumultuous Arab world.

One such intellectual was Vakkom Mohammed Abdul Khader Moulavi, founder of Swadeshabhimani (The Patriot) newspaper way back in 1905. An expert in West Asian politics, he used his newspaper to educate people about issues concerning Palestine and other parts of the Middle East.

“Such efforts apparently resulted in the publication of the first Malayalam book on Palestine in 1930. Written by journalist and sociopolitical observer Muhammed Kannu, the book, titled Palestine Prashnam (The Palestine Problem), was published 18 years before the formation of Israel and 49 years before Edward Said wrote The Palestine Question in 1979,” M V Bijulal, chairperson of the Centre for West Asian Studies at Mahatma Gandhi University, told Al Jazeera.

Palestine Prashnam, using historical documents, reveals how Britain used Palestine, a former colony, for political gains. The author Kannu was also a member of the editorial board of another newspaper, Al Ameen, founded by Congress leader Mohammed Abdur Rahiman.

“Kerala provides an ideal platform for international political discourses. What we are witnessing in Kerala now is an informed society’s solidarity with the Palestinian cause,” said Bijulal.

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