BJP promises to build house for cancer survivor at the launch of Thrikkakara bypoll manifesto

Thankamani embraces BJP candidate A N Radhakrishnan after party state chief K Surendran announced the decision to build a house for her. Photo: Special arrangement

The launch of the BJP's manifesto for an upcoming bypoll in Kerala turned out to be an emotional affair on Thursday. The saffron party announced its decision to build a house for a poor woman at the event held to release its manifesto for the Thrikkakara assembly bypoll slated for May 31.

Thankamani, a middle-aged woman who has been working as a cleaning staffer at different parts of Kochi for years, will benefit from the BJP's charitable cause. Thankamani who was among the audience was picked to release the manifesto. She broke down to tears when the BJP candidate A N Radhakrishnan touched her feet seeking her blessing. She was reluctant to address the gathering despite the leaders persuading her to. However, when she spoke finally she narrated the everyday ordeals she has to go through.

“I have come here after finishing a day's work. I have studied only till class 2. This is the first time I'm speaking from a stage,” she said nervously. Then she revealed that she is a cancer survivor. Her uterus had to be removed as part of a cancer surgery she is now suffering from hernia.

“I live in a rented house paying Rs 5,000 a month. I have gone from one office to another seeking assistance for a house but nothing has worked out yet,” she said.

The BJP leaders then went into a huddle amid the meet and announced the decision to build a house for Thankamani before the function ended. “Thankamani will not be alone now. The BJP leadership will initiate the procedures to buy some land and build a house for her soon,” BJP state president K Surendran announced, leaving Thankamani in tears again.

Senior BJP leader Radhakrishnan is contesting the May 31 bypoll against Congress' Uma Thomas and CPM's Dr Jo Joseph. The bypoll was necessitated with the death of Congress legislator P T Thomas. Uma is the wife of Thomas while the CPM candidate is a practising cardiologist at a prominent hospital in Kochi. The BJP could poll only 15,000-odd votes (a little over 10 per cent) in the constituency in the 2021 state polls.

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