Lok Saha elections 2019: NDA picks Ezhava leader to take on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Kerala
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) announced the candidature of Ezhava outfit leader Thushar Vellapally from Wayanad on Monday, drawing the battle lines in the north Kerala constituency where Congress president Rahul Gandhi is seeking election.
BJP president Amit Shah announced his candidature. “A vibrant and dynamic leader be represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, the NDA will emerge as Kerala’s political alternative,” Shah tweeted.
Vellapally is the president of the Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), a political outfit of backward caste Ezhavas. Earlier he was named as the candidate from Thrissur but shifted to Wayanad after Gandhi’s entry.
The BJP president will announce the candidate of Thrissur later. “I will leave no stone unturned. Main fight is between me and Gandhi,” he said after the decision was announced. The BJP aims to attract enough Ezhava votes (who form 22% of the Hindu community in the state) by fielding him. P P Suneer is the Communist Party of India candidate.
Gandhi, who is also fighting the polls from his traditional seat of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, will file papers on Thursday and the state Congress committee has given a call to celebrate the occasion. Party general secretary in-charge of organisation K C Vengopal will oversee his campaigning. Gandhi is likely to address two-three meetings in the constituency.
Thushar Vellapally is son of Vellapally Natesan, general secretary of Sree Narayana Dharmaparipalana Yogam (SNDP), a powerful social organisation of the backward Ezhavas community.
In 2015, Natesan had floated a political party the Bharatiya Dharma Jana Sena and anointed his son as its president. SNDP runs a string of educational institutions, health-care centres and many other institutions in the state.
Suneer is a young Communist leader who started his career in student politics and rose through the ranks of the CPI. At present, he is the district secretary of the CPI. A firebrand orator, he is known for his integrity and humble lifestyle. “ I am least bothered who is my opponent. It seems it is a Waterloo for Gandhi,” he said.
Meanwhile, a controversy broke out after the CPI(M) mouthpiece,Desabhimani, carried a stinging editorial on that said Gandhi will “complete collapse of the Congress” and used objectionable language to describe him.
“Look, BJP and CPI(M) are talking the same language. PM Modi and BJP leaders get enough joy in addressing the Congress president like this. The worried CPI(M) also stooped so low,” said Congress leader Joseph Vazakkan. But state finance minister Thomas Issac admitted that it was a mistake. “It is not left view. We will correct the mistake,” he said in Thiruvananthapuram.