Kerala

Navigating Political Waters: P.C. George’s Pathanamthitta Truce

Insights into BJP's Strategy and Leadership Dynamics in Kerala's Political Landscape

Pathanamthitta: The BJP’s central leadership intervention has defused tensions between P.C. George and Anil Antony, the party’s candidate for Pathanamthitta. George, who had vigorously protested being denied the seat, warmly welcomed Anil with sweets at his residence. He affirmed he would actively campaign for Anil’s candidacy.

Confidence and Support Declarations

On Monday around 5 pm, Anil Antony met George at his home in Eratupetta for discussions. Afterwards, George addressed the media, saying, “To Keralites, Anil Antony is the son of A.K. Antony – a great recognition. The party decided to field him from Pathanamthitta, which I respect. I never stated I would be the candidate. There’s no need to address rumours.”

“This will be a no-fail fight, a good match. Let me show you how we’ll win,” George declared confidently. He admits the support he has garnered, including from bishops, has stalled and aims to reshape that dynamic.

For his part, Antony expressed confidence in winning Pathanamthitta with George’s blessings. After arriving in Kochi from Delhi, Anil Antony told the media, “I’ve known P.C. George and his family since childhood – he’s a distant relative, and Shawn George is like an elder brother. P. C. George joining the BJP will hugely strengthen the party. Through his efforts, BJP will become Kerala’s number one political force.”

Downplaying Rivalry and Criticism

George also addressed criticism from Tushar Vellappally, stating, “Tushar has his politics, I have mine. If he contests in Kottayam, I’ll campaign if called, but not where I’m uninvited.” He questioned whether Vellappally wanted him restrained, dismissing the need to campaign as an invitation as he’s “not in the market to be left out.”

Meanwhile, Anil Antony downplayed the George rivalry as “a media creation,” asserting he has the veteran leader’s full support. He was pleased to begin campaigning with George’s blessings after national leaders urged him to moderate, promising due consideration.

State Leadership Dissatisfaction

However, the state NDA leadership remains dissatisfied with George’s barbs. BJP state president K. Surendran said, “We’ll see what happens with P.C. The party understands everything. Everyone knows Anil Antony – he’s our best candidate who will win. Public figures must be measured in speech. We’ll act against those making inflammatory Facebook posts.” Surendran made clear that, unlike George’s recent induction, “action has been taken against long-time party members” for indiscipline.

BJP has its work cut out in managing the outspoken P.C. George and the high-stakes Pathanamthitta election battle. At the same time, the central leadership succeeded in temporarily defusing its revolt against Anil Antony’s candidacy. George’s short temperament and tendency to go rogue could reignite tensions. His dismissive stance towards fellow NDA partner Tushar Vellappally also risks creating fissures within the broader coalition.

State president Surendran’s veiled warnings about disciplinary action indicate the leadership’s delicate balancing act. They must keep the powerful George in line without alienating him and his vocal support base entirely. Too heavy-handed an approach could drive George into his formerly frequent mode of causing embarrassing public controversies.

Anil Antony seems willing to take the elder statesman’s backing, however qualified or backhanded. But George’s freewheeling comments constantly court offences and conflict. And a threat to become a needless distraction in a hotly contested Christian-dominated seat. Current tensions between the P.C. George and Anil Antony have been set aside due to BJP leaderships intevention. But the qustion arise how long the P.C. George can sit quietly.

BJP’s Laser-Focused Strategy

As polling nears, the BJP’s focus should be laser-aimed at consolidating all community votes behind Anil Antony’s prominent candidacy. Managing internal drama while mounting a formidable campaign could prove Anils Antony’s most significant obstacle to clinching this long-elusive bastion. Whether George emerges as a potent campaigning force or continues undermining the party’s objectives may determine if the saffron ranks finally break through in Pathanamthitta.

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is a seasoned Political Journalist with a deep passion for Indian Politics. With over a decade of experience in the field, he has established himself as a trusted… More »

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