Thrikkakara bypoll: Pinarayi Vijayan takes centre stage
Kochi, May 14 (IANS) Ahead of the May 31 Thrikkakara Assembly bypoll, the ruling Left Democratic Front seems to have got into a complete election mode with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan taking the centre stage and micromanaging the entire process.
Vijayan will now be stay put at the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency for most of the days till a new legislator is elected.
While the Congress is fielding Uma Thomas, wife of two-time sitting party legislator P.T.Thomas who passed away in December last year, the CPI-M threw a surprise by choosing a busy young 43-year-old interventional cardiologist Jose Joseph. The BJP brought in senior party leader A.N.Radhakrishnan.
The chief minister, who was undergoing a treatment in the US when the by-election was announced, cut short his visit and arrived in the state capital on May 10.
He reached Thrikkakara the next day and inaugurated the Left election convention on May 12th .
During his nearly hour-long election speech, his oblique reference that P.T.Thomas's death is an opportunity for the Thrikkakara electorate to make a correction when they vote May 31, has come under a huge attack from the Congress.
To make amends, Vijayan has decided to lead from the front and is going to be in the constituency for several days.
The CPI-M leadership has directed its around 60 Left legislators and all the state cabinet ministers to be present in the constituency for campaigning to ensure it hits a century of legislators in the 140-member Kerala Legislative Assembly.
Uma Thomas, who was the first to hit the campaign trail, has taken strong exception to the brash reference of Vijayan, said that it was highly improper for a Chief Minister to have made such a remark.
"The very fact that the state gave a royal funeral to P.T.Thomas is enough to show how much the people loved and adored him. I think he (Vijayan) made a mistake," said the 56-year-old Uma, who by now appears to have struck a chord with the electorate with her simple and gentle demeanour.
And perhaps this is why Vijayan has decided to lead from the front and from now on according to Left sources, he will preside over crucial election strategy meetings at the lower levels in which only the committee members will take part.
None has a doubt in the manner of the Left campaign, which is very disciplined and systematic, unlike the Congress, which is generally a crowd of people.
The ongoing 'Chintan Shivir' of the Congress has left the party's campaign in a tight spot as all the leaders are in Rajasthan for the event. They will be back on Sunday and the cadres have been assured that starting Sunday, the entire leadership led by State Congress president K.Sudhakaran will be stay put at Thrikkakara.
Even though the BJP was able to garner only around 15,000 votes at the April 2021 Assembly polls from Thrikkakara, its state party president K.Surendran has already arrived in the constituency as there have been speculations that Surendran might be removed, as his appointment appears to have made less impact.
So for him too, this poll is in a way crucial too as if there is not going to be a reasonable increase in the votes, then it could well be curtains for him, as the national BJP has started plans to augment state party units, which are not coming up as expected and are looking for fresh faces and Kerala is one such state.
The BJP has neither representation in the Assembly not in the Lok Sabha from Kerala.
So for all three political fronts, this battle is crucial in more ways than one and hence the coming days could see the campaign reaching newer heights.