Kerala polls: Will Thrissur keep left? UDF thinks time for change

Kerala polls: Will Thrissur keep left? UDF thinks time for change

Thrissur is no place for complacency when it comes to politics. The Left Democratic Front won all but one seat in the district in the assembly election in 2016. The only opposition MLA, Anil Akkara of the Congress, however, rose to his responsibilities and launched a strike against the government from Wadakkancherry.

The allegations raised by the opposition legislator from Wadakkancherry about the construction of the apartment complex under the Life Mission housing scheme continues to be an election issue all over the district.

The ruling CPM has fielded an influential leader to take on Akkara. Xavier Chittilappilly has come back from political exile caused by the party's factional feuds. He has been appointed as the party's area secretary after the old leadership faced disciplinary actions.

Both Akkara and Chittilappilly are wary of the BJP's increased vote share in the constituency. The party has again fielded its district general secretary, Ullas Babu.

Anil Akkara

Two ministers in the LDF cabinet are missing from the electoral arena in Thrissur district – C Ravindranath and V S Sunil Kumar. Sections of the CPI wanted Sunil Kumar to stay but party state secretary Kanam Rajendran ensured that all was well.

Yet the CPI had fresh troubles in Nattika, where two-term MLA Geetha Gopi was replaced by farmers' leader C C Mukundan. Geetha Gopi did not have to step aside as per the party norms but she faced opposition from three women leaders in the party district committee. Even the state leadership could not iron out the differences.

Thrissur is facing another interesting battle. Congress candidate Padmaja Venugopal has been doing the groundworks here. Though she lost the previous election, she shifted residence to her father’s former house in Thrissur.

Thrissur came under more limelight after the BJP sent actor Suresh Gopi as a candidate. He had managed to finish second in the wider Lok Sabha constituency in 2019. CPI district assistant secretary and writer P Balachandran will replace V S Sunil Kumar.

Suresh Gopi
Suresh Gopi

The BJP is in a spot in Guruvayur, where its candidate’s nomination was not even accepted. Mahila Morcha state president Nivedita Subramanian filed her nomination paper without the party state president’s sign on it. There was no dummy candidate to stand in. Some party workers say that the goof-up was designed to portray party state president K Surendran as ineffective.

UDF candidate K N A Khader started his campaign with an offering to Guruvayurappan, the deity of the famed temple. Khader’s speeches that draw liberally from Hindu scriptures and mythology are viral hits on social media. He faces CPM area secretary N K Akbar.

Minister A C Moideen is contesting from Kunnamkulam again. The Congress candidate is K Jayashankar, who has a track record of popularity and election victories in local self-government bodies. The BJP has fielded district president K K Anish Kumar as the NDA candidate.


The Congress is expecting an upset in the constituency even as the CPM is confident of guarding it.

The CPM has called back its warhorse K Radhakrishnan to guard Chelakkara. The former minister and speaker has represented the constituency for four terms. Radhakrishnan is likely to be a minister if the LDF returns to power.

Radhakrishnan is universally accepted in the constituency. He faces a challenger in former district panchayat president C C Srikumar. The Congress candidate is a farmer and a former member of the Choondal panchayat.

Scheduled Castes Morcha state president Shajumon Vattekkad is the BJP candidate in Chelakkara.

CPI chief whip K Rajan is seeking another term in the assembly from the Ollur constituency. Rajan is a new-gen communist with personal contacts all over the constituency.

Thrissur district Congress general secretary Jose Valloor is the UDF candidate. He is known for his firebrand oratory. BJP has fielded party spokesman B Gopalakrishnan.


Freshmen and veterans

The Congress game plan in the district largely depends on rookies – Saneesh Kumar Joseph in Chalakkudy, Sunil Anthikad in Pudukkad, Vijay Hari in Manalur, Shobha Subin in Kaypamangalam and Sunil Laloor in Nattika. The party has fielded KPCC former general secretary M P Jackson in Kodungallur.

The UDF candidate in Irinjalakuda is Kerala Congress leader Thomas Unniyadan, who is facing his sixth election from the constitution. His opponent is former mayor R Bindu, wife of LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan. When asked if this amounted to dynasty politics, Vijayaraghavan said Bindu could show her biodata, referring to her own achievements. Bindu cut her teeth in politics as an SFI member. Her father was a CPM member in the Irinjalakuda municipality.

The LDF has set aside the Chalakudy seat for the Kerala Congress (M). The candidate is former Congress leader Denis K Antony. The CPI has fielded E T Tyson in Kaipamangalam and V R Sunil Kumar in Kodungallur. The CPM has fielded Puthukad K K Ramachandran in Pudukkad and Murali Perunelli in Manalur.

The BJP list has many known faces. Party state vice president A N Radhakrishanan has been a resident of Manalur for five years, building connections in the constituency. State secretary A Nagesh is the candidate in Pudukkad.

Former director general of police Jacob Thomas is a BJP candidate in Irinjalakuda. Santosh Cherakulam is the party candidate in Kodungallur and Lochanan Ambatt in Nattika. BJP ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena has fielded K A Unnikrishnan in Chalakudy and C D Sreelal in Kaypamangalam.

Thrissur defies prediction this time. Electoral fortunes in the district change like the famed spectacle of the Thrissur Pooram. The LDF won 12 of the 13 seats last time. There was a time when the UDF won 10 seats.

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