Lok Sabha 2019
Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president Thushar Vellappally has replaced the lesser known Paily Vathiattu in Wayanad.
Thushar Vellapppally

Rahul Gandhi’s decision to fight from Wayanad in Kerala for the upcoming General Elections has forced the BJP-led NDA to bring in a better candidate for the constituency. On Monday, BJP president Amit Shah announced that Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) president Thushar Vellappally will contest from Wayanad instead of Thrissur, replacing his party colleague Paily Vathiattu.

“I proudly announce Thushar Vellappaly, 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,” Amit Shah tweeted.

 

Thushar Vellappaly is the son of Vellappally Natesan, the leader of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam (SNDP). BDJS is the political outfit floated by SNDP in 2015; SNDP is an Ezhava community outfit, a non-dominant caste in Kerala. Thushar is also the vice-president of SNDP. This is his political debut, as well as the BDJS’s.

Wayanad is one of the four seats that have been allotted to the BDJS in the NDA. Thushar was the candidate for the party in Thrissur. With the replacement, the coalition will now have to look for another candidate in Thrissur. A decision in this regard has not been finalised so far. Alathur, Mavelikkara and Idukki are the other seats of the BDJS.

Wayanad was carved out as a Lok Sabha constituency in 2008. In 2009 and 2014, MI Shanavas of the Congress won the seat, defeating the Communist Party of India (CPI). However, the seat has been vacant since Shanavas’s death in November 2018.

As part of NDA's seat-sharing arrangement, BJP is set to contest from 14 seats, the BDJS from five seats and the Kerala Congress (PC Thomas) faction will contest from one seat in Kottayam. With the latest announcement, it remains to be seen if Thrissur will go to BDJS or BJP.

Read: Why Rahul Gandhi has chosen Wayanad as the second seat he will contest from