Balachandran pips Padmaja to retain Thrissur for LDF, Suresh Gopi finishes third

P Balachandran

P Balachandran retained the Thrissur Assembly seat for the Left Democratic Front, defeating Padmaja Venugopal of the United Democratic Front (UDF) by a slender margin.

Film actor and National Democratic Front candidate Suresh Gopi finished third.

Ground Report: Balachandran, Padmaja vie for Thrissur, Suresh Gopi’s waywardness raises eyebrows

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Balachandran entered the fray after his party colleague and agriculture minister VS Sunil Kumar decided not to contest the election. Sunil Kumar won the seat in 2016.

But voters in Thrissur have not missed him even for a single day since the election campaign began in March.

He accompanied Balachandran to every nook and cranny of the constituency since then. “Balachandran and I have been friends since our student politics days. We know each other well. So it is my duty to ensure his victory,” he told this correspondent during the campaign in April.

LDF candidate P Balachandran campaigning at Poomkunnam Thrissur . Photo by Russell Shahul

So Balachandran owes a lot to Sunil Kumar for the victory after a tough three-way battle. The victory also helped him make amends to his defeat from the same constituency at the hands of Congress leader Therambil Ramakrishnan in 2011.

Balachandran said Thrissur residents were impressed with the works done by Sunil Kumar and would elect him to continue those works.

LDF banked on the Rs 1,200 crore spent for the constituency and its anti-BJP stand to woo the voters. 

The money, said Balachandran, was utilised to build infrastructure and improve public amenities. “Thrissur got a facelift in the last five years. We would take it forward,” he said.

Balachandran had said LDF is the only front that is earnestly fighting the anti-people policies of the Narendra Modi government. “People have broken their back because of the exorbitant rise in oil and gas prices and they will vent their anger against the government in this poll,” he said. 

Brief history

Members of different parties had represented Thrissur in the first four decades after the constituency was formed in 1957. 

Congress leader Therambil Ramakrishnan re-wrote history and transformed it into a Congress citadel when he won five consecutive elections between 1991 and 2011. Sunil Kumar broke his 25-year-long winning streak in 2016.

Thirty six wards of the Thrissur corporation are part of the  constituency. In the local body election in December 2020, UDF won 14 wards, LDF got 13, BJP claimed five while independents bagged four.

In the 2019 Parliament election, UDF candidate and eventual winner from Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency T N Prathapan collected 55,668 votes from the assembly seat. NDA’s Suresh Gopi finished second with 37,641 votes while LDF’s Rajaji Mathew Thomas came third with  31,110 votes.


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