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Thrikkakara bypoll to be held tomorrow; Candidates express hope


Kochi: The Thrikkakara constituency is all set to go for polling on May 31 for the byelection, and the three major political fronts — the LDF, the UDF and the NDA — in Kerala have expressed confidence in winning the seat for which the high-octane campaign had ended on Sunday.

While the ruling Left Democratic Front candidate, Dr Jo Joseph, believes that the voters of Thrikkakara, which is a traditional Congress bastion, will opt for a positive change and elect a ruling party MLA, the United Democratic Front candidate, Uma Thomas, said the constituency will be retained by her party. Meanwhile, BJP candidate A N Radhakrishnan is confident that with the support of senior politician P C George, who was recently arrested and released on bail in two hate speech cases, the National Democratic Front will win the polls.

Uma Thomas, widow of former MLA P T Thomas, told PTI that she would like to carry forward the development dreams of her late husband. ‘First of all, this is a UDF constituency. Secondly, this constituency was well looked after by PT (Thomas). This byelection was necessitated by his untimely death. He used to meet the people and used to take proactive steps for them. PT was like a family member for the people here. It’s a huge factor’, Uma said, expressing confidence that she will win the bypoll. Uma said she entered into the fray because the party workers urged her to take over her husband’s development plans for the constituency. ‘I want to continue what PT had started. I will follow his footsteps and policies. I have 100 per cent confidence that I will win this election. All the party workers have efficiently worked for the election here’, she said.

LDF’s Joseph said the result of this election was not going to affect the government which was already ruling with a massive majority of 99 seats in the 140-seat Assembly. ‘Ernakulam is an economic hub of Kerala and Thrikkakara is one of the most important constituencies here. But Thrikkakara does not have the proportionate development. Since its formation, the constituency has been ruled by the UDF. The Left government got a second term because of the developmental agenda. So, the people of Thrikkakara have understood this and will vote for the Left’, Joseph told, reported PTI. ‘The choice before Thrikkakara is whether they need a ruling party MLA or an opposition MLA. The people of Thrikkakara will definitely stand with the LDF’, Joseph said.

Senior BJP leader and the party’s state vice president Radhakrishnan, who took out a comparatively quiet campaigning process, however, on Sunday expressed confidence as George, despite being summoned by the Thiruvananthapuram police in a hate speech case, came to campaign for the NDA candidate on the last day. ‘With the help of P C George, the BJP will win this election. The Communists and the Congress parties are silent of what George has said. The Communists and the Congress party want to appease the minority community. This time we will win the election and I will be elected to the Legislative Assembly’, Radhakrishnan had told his supporters at Palarivattom on Sunday.

The constituency, which was formed in 2011, had elected senior Congress leader Benny Behanan as its first MLA. In the 2016 assembly election, P T Thomas secured 61,268 votes, which was 45.42 per cent of the electorate while CPI(M)’s Sebastian Paul bagged 49,455 votes. That year, BJP’s S Saji secured 21,247 votes. However, in 2021, Thomas won with a slightly reduced of 59,839 while CPI(M) backed Dr J Jacob got 45,510 votes. BJP had bagged 15,483 in the 2021 polls. Meanwhile, Twenty20, a political party backed by an industrial group here, had fielded a candidate in 2021 and secured 13,897 votes.

Even though Twenty20 had entered into an alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party this time, they have not fielded a candidate but asked the people to vote judiciously. The byelection was necessitated due to the death of P T Thomas last year. The Left party has deployed all its party mechanisms in the constituency which the Congress considers as its Impregnable fortress. Several Left front leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues, and other MLAs were camping in the constituency to wrest back the seat from the Congress. The Congress leaders, however, are confident that its traditional seat that stood strong with it even when there was a Left wave in 2021 would elect Uma Thomas to the state Assembly.

Both the parties have raked up the SilverLine project as an election campaign. While the Congress-backed UDF campaigned that the proposed K-Rail is an expensive project which will also evict people from their homes, the CPI(M) has projected the developmental aspects of the semi-high speed rail project. The election will take place on May 31 and the counting is on June 3.



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