It looks like the BJP-led NDA has finally given up the wait to see if Congress National President Rahul Gandhi will choose Wayanad in Kerala as his second seat. As decided earlier, Thushar Vellappally, the state president of BDJS (Bharat Dharma Jana Sena), which is the ally of NDA, will contest from Thrissur. Paily Vathiattu, a member of the party, will contest from Wayanad, a constituency that was carved out in 2008.
Out of the five constituencies the BJP had allotted to BDJS, the candidates for three seats were announced on Tuesday: TV Babu from Alathur, Biju Krishna from Idukki and Thazhava Sahadevan from Mavelikkara. The candidates for the Thrissur and Wayanad were finally announced on Wednesday.
Thushar, however, added that if Rahul Gandhi is contesting, the candidate for the Wayanad constituency is likely to change. Incidentally, while deciding the seat-sharing arrangement of the alliance, the BJP had insisted that it would offer Thrissur to the BDJS only if Thushar is put forth as its candidate.
BDJS (Democratic) is a breakaway party formed following a recent split in the BDJS, when a group of workers under former Thiruvananthapuram district president, Chuzhal G Nirmalan, left the party.
With BDJS’s announcement on Wednesday, the NDA’s final list of Lok Sabha candidates for the 20 seats in Kerala has been completed. While the BJP will contest from 14 seats, the BDJS was allotted five seats and the Kerala Congress (PC Thomas) faction has been given one seat in Kottayam.
“After a meeting with the general council and the district committee members of the BDJS, I have been allotted Thrissur, and I accept it. I will start the campaigning from Friday,” Thushar told the media.
“I have an emotional connect with Thrissur,” added Thushar, whose native is in Irinjalakuda, Thrissur district.
The 2019 Lok Sabha election will be the first Lok Sabha election of BDJS, which was floated in 2015.
In a three-corner fight, Thushar will contest against CPI’s 65-year-old Rajaji Mathew Thomas, another fresh face in Lok Sabha polls, as well as Congress's TN Prathapan, a three-time MLA and the current president of the Thrissur District Congress Committee.
64-year-old Paily Vathiattu is a farmer by profession, according to the affidavit he filed in 2016. Hailing from Kelakam in Kannur District, Paily was the candidate from Peravoor in the district for the Kerala Assembly elections in 2016. However, he ended up third, defeated by Congress's Sunny Joseph and CPI(M)'s Binoy Kurian.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Paily will contest against PP Suneer of the CPI and the former district secretary of the party in Malappuram. If Rahul Gandhi is not contesting from Wayanad, he will contest against T Siddique, who was elected as the Secretary of the Indian Youth Congress of the state in 2002 and also served as the state president of the Kerala Youth Congress between 2007-2009.
‘Not resigning from SNDP Yogam’
Thushar also responded to the speculation that he will resign from the post of vice-president of SNDP (Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana) Yogam, the Ezhava community organisation.
BDJS is the political wing of SNDP, whose General Secretary is Thushar’s father, Vellapally Natesan.
“I will not resign from the post of Vice President. My candidature will not be a hindrance is discharging my role in the organisation,” he said.