Graceful in Kerala assembly poll defeat, these candidates are still walking the talk

Padmaja Venugopal, Riyas Mukkoli,  R Sajilal and P K Krishnadas
Padmaja Venugopal, Riyas Mukkoli, R Sajilal and P K Krishnadas

They are down, not out. Despite being ‘outsiders’, four candidates are continuing in the constituencies which had rejected them in the recently concluded Kerala Assembly polls. 

The political scenario might change in the next five years. Perhaps, they will be fielded elsewhere, or even denied a seat. They are, however, not bothered about what lies ahead.

P K Krishnadas of BJP (Kattakkada), R Sajilal of the CPI (Haripad), Padmaja Venugopal of the Congress (Thrissur) and Riyas Mukkoli, also of the Congress (Pattambi), are the candidates continuing in the constituencies. 

Walking the talk

Riyas Mukkoli, originally from Kondotty, has shifted base to Pattambi on his own volition. The party leadership has not asked him to prepare for the polls from the Pattambi Assembly constituency after five years. Riyas doesn’t harbor high hopes of routing the LDF, which had won the seat by a margin of more than 17,000 votes, in the next election.  

Riyas shifted to Pattambi with his family to keep a promise he had made to the voters. During the campaign, he had promised to be in the constituency irrespective of the poll outcome. 

“There is a truth in my word. I shifted residence to Pattambi to keep my word,” the Congress leader says.

He had taken on rent a spacious house during the campaign to lodge party workers also. Currently, his wife Dilna Hassan alone is with him. Considering that they do not need a big house, Riyas has now shifted to a smaller rented accommodation. 

Riyas visited Kondotty only once after the results. Being the State vice-president of the Youth Congress, he is active in Youth Care activities, distributing food, ensuring medical care, and visiting bereaved families. The activities help him to be with the people of Pattambi, who has sent Muhammed Muhsin of the CPI once again to the Assembly. 

People’s leader

The State president of the All India Youth Federation, R Sajilal, shifted to Haripad in Alappuzha from Punalur in Kollam to contest against Ramesh Chennithala, the former Leader of the Opposition. 

The young leader presented a tough challenge, and managed to make a dent in Chennithala’s winning margin. 

Even after his defeat by 13,666 votes, Sajilal has been spending most of time in Haripad, and was active when storm waves battered the constituency’s coastal area. He is also leading the CPI and AIYF’s anti-COVID-19 activities. 

Sajilal said the party has not assigned him to Haripad. “People, even children, still contact me for various needs, as the one who had contested from this constituency. Also, there are strong bonding with several people formed during the campaign. People hand over to me memorandums that are to be submitted to the government. I try to support them as much as I can, and hence I frequently visit Haripad,” says Sajilal. 

Close to the heart

Thalassery in Kannur is BJP leader P K Krishnadas’s constituency. Though he had contested from four districts in the past Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, Kattakkada has a special place in his heart. 

Of the five polls to the Assembly he had contested, the three consecutive elections from 2011 were from Kattakkada.  

Krishnadas has been continuing in the constituency even after the three defeats. “It’s not victory or defeat, but the bonding I have with the people keep me here,” the BJP leader says. 

He has been spending most of his time in Kattakkada, even after the election result. Besides, he is also active in organizational matters. Krishnadas is not sure whether he would contest again from the constituency, but prefers to spend time with the voters in Kattakkada. 

I B Satheesh of the CPM had won the polls, while Krishnadas got the support of 34,428 voters. 

Her father’s home turf 

Thrissur was former Congress leader K Karunakaran’s home district and political turf. It’s natural that his daughter Padmaja Venugopal has a special affinity towards the district and the constituency. 

Padmaja was the UDF candidate in Thrissur, where she lost to P Balachandran of the CPI. Active in the constituency even before the polls, Padmaja based herself at their house near Poonkunnam. She used to visit the house, where Karunakaran has a memorial, at least once a week. During the campaign she remained in Thrissur. 

Padmaja, living in Ernakulam with husband Dr Venugopal and son Karun, still visits Thrissur frequently and is active in the district’s political scene.

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