“This victory belongs to AK Gopalan,” says CPI(M) leader MB Rajesh after winning the Thrithala seat in Palakkad. MB Rajesh managed to snatch the seat away from Congress’s VT Balram, who was a two-time MLA in Thrithala.
Rajesh’s statement is a jibe against Balram, who in 2018 sparked a controversy by calling AK Gopalan, a Communist icon in Kerala, a pedophile. Balram had questioned AKG’s morals for falling in love with his second wife Susheela when she was just 12 years old, and that too while being married to his first wife.
With Rajesh’s victory by a margin of over 2,000 votes, the LDF has clinched a constituency which was a Congress seat for the last 10 years.
Thrithala’s was among the most keenly watched electoral fights as both Balram and Rajesh are young and dynamic candidates, representing the next generation leadership of the Congress and the CPI(M) respectively.
The constituency had been a CPI(M) stronghold for over two decades. That changed in 2011, when VT Balram, then 32 years old, took the seat away by winning against CPI(M)’s P Mammikutty by 3,197 votes. The next time, Balram managed to double his margin by defeating CPI(M)'s Subaida Ishac by over 10,547 votes. This time, however, Balram’s political rival was as gritty and dynamic as the MLA himself. The CPI(M) decided to field Rajesh, who is a two-time MP in order to ensure a tough fight for the seat.
The fight in Thrithala had also turned personal with Rajesh stating that Balram had insulted many veteran Communist leaders and intellectuals, while Balram added that the CPI(M) government neglected the constituency where he was the MLA.
As MLA-elect, Rajesh promises to ensure drinking water in Thrithala, which has been facing water problems.
“Thrithala need not have a drinking water shortage as there is a reservoir in Velliyankallu. We don’t need 10 years, we need only 1 year. Within 1 year, we will use KIIFB funds and ensure that everyone in Thrithala has access to drinking water,” he adds.