On Thursday, as the results started trickling in, there were celebrations at the Nemom constituency for veteran BJP leader O Rajagopal.
Rajagopal who was contesting the assembly elections from Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram against CPI(M)-led LDF's sitting MLA V Sivankutty, had won by 8,744 votes.
This is the first time that the BJP has managed to win a seat in Kerala.
Popularly known as Rajettan, Rajagopal is 86 years old.
Starting his political career with the Bharatiya Jan Sangh in the 1960s, he went on to become its state president. His first parliamentary bid as a Janata Party candidate from Kasargod in 1980 ended in failure and he made another unsuccessful attempt from Manjeri in 1989. Post that, he failed to get a Lok Sabha seat a further four times in 1991, 1999, 2004 and 2014.
Despite these electoral reverses, Rajagopal has been a consistent performer in the assembly elections. In 2011, he garnered 33 per cent votes from Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram, coming second ahead of the UDF candidate.
In an interview to The News Minute in March, he had said, “It is for the first time in half a century that Keralites actually have an option to vote for a viable third alternative with the BJP-BDJS combination now in place as part of the NDA’s electoral tie-up.”
Rajagopal has held many prestigious Union portfolios like Defence and Parliamentary Affairs, Urban Development, Law, Justice and Company Affairs, and Railways in the previous NDA regime at the Centre. He has also been a Rajya Sabha MP from 1992-2004.
Rajagopal had contested several assembly and parliamentary elections earlier from Kerala, but without much success. However, he is widely credited for single-handedly increasing the BJP’s percentage of vote-share in the state’s highly bi-partisan political scenario from a mere six percent in 2011 to 32.3% in 2014.
You can read our earlier story here.