Thrissur: The unexpected entry of actor-cum-politician Suresh Gopi in the election fray has changed the entire proposition of the Lok Sabha polls for both UDF and LDF in Thrissur. The constituency has favoured both the fronts alike and has also witnessed some surprises in 1996 when CPI veteran V.V. Raghavan of the LDF defeated leader K. Karunakaran of the UDF with a margin of 1,480 votes and in mid-term LS polls in 1998, Karunakaran’s son K. Muraleedharan was defeated by Mr Raghavan with an improved margin of 18,409 votes.
Since 1990, the constituency has favoured LDF four times and UDF three times.
In 2014, C.N. Jayadevan of CPI won the seat by a margin of 38,227 votes defeating K.P. Dhanapalan of UDF.
Then BJP/NDA candidate K.P. Sreesan then got 1,02,681 votes.
BJP which managed to get only 54,680 votes in 2009 LS polls had gathered as many as 2,05,515 from all the seven Assembly segments that form Thrissur LS segment in the polls held to State Assembly in 2016, by making it an ‘A Plus’ segment for the NDA.
‘Thrissur lacking big projects’
Other than the Thrissur-Ponnani Kole Land Development project of Rs 457-crore sanctioned in 2012, when P.C. Chacko was the MP, not major projects have been implemented other than the usual allocation of the MP Local Area Development (LAD) fund.
“Even though the incumbent MP Mr Jayadevan had promised projects other than those using the MP LAD funds, he failed to implement any major projects,” DCC president T.N. Prathapan, who is the UDF candidate from the segment, said.
According to Rajaji Mathew Thomas of CPI who is the LDF candidate the developmental projects need to implement in a timely manner.
“If elected, I will fix annual timelines for projects according to which the projects implemented will be reviewed on yearly basis,” he noted.
At the national level both the candidates agree that BJP is a threat for secularism and a post-poll alliance between Left parties and Congress would be necessary to prevent NDA and BJP to get a second straight term at the centre.
The Suresh Gopi Buzz in thrissur
Both LDF and UDF never expected NDA to be a threat in Thrissur as the seat was kept aside for its constituent BDJS and the party’s state president Tushar Vellappally even campaigned in Thrissur for one day, before Congress announced the candidature of AICC president Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad.
Tushar soon moved to Wayanad and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Suresh Gopi was roped in by the central leadership with the aim to clinch the ‘A Plus’ seat.
The actors’ invoking of the Sabarimala issue during the NDA convention held last week and the frenzy the ‘super star’ actor has created after submitting nomination on April 4 in the segment through his road shows, especially among the women voters, is notable. “My poll plank is the performance of Modi government and my own performance as Rajya Sabha MP. As a cultural capital, I see in Thrissur a great potential for development,” Suresh Gopi said. Comparing the votes polled in 2014 Lok Sabha polls and 2016 assembly elections the actor will have to poll nearly 1.25 to 1.45 lakh more votes than the 2 lakh votes the NDA presently have in the segment to spring a surprise in Thrissur.