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  India   All India  02 Apr 2019  Wayanad: NDA fields BDJS chief Thushar to fight Rahul

Wayanad: NDA fields BDJS chief Thushar to fight Rahul

Published : Apr 2, 2019, 5:29 am IST
Updated : Apr 2, 2019, 6:01 am IST

The BJP has stitched an alliance with the BDJS and Kerala Congress in Kerala for the Lok Sabha elections.

Thushar Vellappally, NDA’s Wayanad nominee (Photo: Facebook)
 Thushar Vellappally, NDA’s Wayanad nominee (Photo: Facebook)

Thiruvananthapuram: Setting the stage for a high-voltage triangular fight, BJP president Amit Shah on Monday announced that Thushar Vellappally of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), an ally of the saffron party in Kerala, will be the ruling NDA’s candidate against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad Lok Sabha seat.

The BDJS is a fledgling party founded by Mr Vellappally in 2015. This is the party’s first Lok Sabha outing in which it will contest on five out of the 20 seats in Kerala.

The announcement about BDJS chief’s candidature was made by Mr Shah on Twitter. “I proudly announce Shri Thushar Vellappally, president of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena as NDA candidate from Wayanad. A vibrant and dynamic youth leader, he represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, NDA will emerge as Kerala’s political alternative,” tweeted Mr Shah.

The BJP has stitched an alliance with the BDJS and Kerala Congress in Kerala for the  Lok Sabha elections. The BJP is contesting from 14 seats and Kerala Congress from one.

Mr Vellappally, 49, is the son of Vellappally Natesan, who is the general secretary of the influential Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam, which works for the welfare of Ezhava community, a backward caste with a sizeable population in the state. The BDJS president is currently also the vice-president of the SNDP.

In his first reaction after the announcement, Mr Vellappally said, “People of the state will support son of the soil against an outsider.”

The Congress had announced on Sunday that Mr Gandhi will contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from Wayanad besides the Gandhi family stronghold Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. This is the first time Mr Gandhi is contesting from a second seat.

While thanking Mr Shah, Mr Vellappally tweeted; “Sir thanks for giving me the opportunity and big thanks for the kind words. This behind the curtain drama of the Left and Congress we will expose to our countrymen. I am with you in this fight to eradicate foreign rule from our motherland. NaMo again.”

Mr Vellappally claimed that the main fight in Wayanad would be between him and Mr Gandhi, and the LDF would be pushed to the third position.

Mr Vellappally enjoys considerable influence over the Ezhava community which once had stood with the Communist parties. The Left faced a scare when BDJS was formed in 2015.

Mr Vellappally took his party to the BJP-led NDA’s camp. In the Assembly elections in 2016, the BDJS had secured four per cent votes. Though the party could not win any seat, it helped the NDA secure 14 per cent votes, making it a political force to reckon with.

During the recent Sabarimala agitation, Mr Vellappally stood with the Sabarimala Karma Samithi, a Sangh Parivar-backed outfit which led the movement against the entry of women of menstruating age into the temple.

A day after Congress president Mr Gandhi’s candidacy from Wayanad was confirmed, Deshabhimani, the Malayalam mouthpiece of the ruling CPI(M), put out editorial in which he was addressed as “Pappu”, a derisive name coined by the Congress’ rivals. The CPI(M) dismissed it as a “mindless mistake”.

The editorial, titled “This Pappu Strike Will Complete the Collapse of Congress”, said Mr Gandhi’s decision to contest from Kerala happened to be out of ‘fear of failure’ in his traditional stronghold, Amethi.

Meanwhile, Union minister K.J. Alphons and sitting Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor were among the 32 candidates who filed their nominations on Monday for the April 23 Lok Sabha elections in Kerala.

Tags: thushar vellappally, rahul gandhi