Lok Sabha 2019
In his absence, Benny Behanan’s family, as well as Congress MLAs and workers, campaigned for him in the Chalakudy constituency.
FB/Benny Behanan

After being hospitalised for about a week following a heart attack, Benny Behanan, the senior Congress leader and UDF candidate from Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency, is back in the game. He kickstarted his election campaign on Sunday evening in the presence of senior Congress leader AK Antony.

The 63-year-old leader suffered a heart attack on April 5. He was soon admitted to a private hospital in Kakkanad in Ernakulam and had to undergo angioplasty. The unexpected ailment of the UDF candidate had left the party workers and leaders perplexed for a day. The campaign was, thus, stalled for a day.

However, the very next day, Congress MLAs of the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency picked up the campaign right where Benny left off. MLAs such as Anwar Sadath, Eldose Kunnappally, Roji John, VP Sajeendran, VD Satheesan and PT Thomas started campaigning for Benny.

Speaking to TNM, PT Thomas said, “We were amazed to see people’s concern for Benny Behanan. It was not just the UDF supporters, but those who did not have any specific party affiliations were also showing their concern and support for him.”

Benny Behanan’s family members, too, were campaigning for him. “His wife and children did some rounds of campaigning. People in the constituency seemed to have liked how we all came together and stood for him,” added PT Thomas.

With this support and concern of the people in the constituency, UDF in Chalakudy is of the view that Benny Behanan can defeat CPI (M)-led LDF’s Innocent and BJP’s AN Radhakrishnan.

Innocent, the sitting MP from the constituency, had contested in the last Lok Sabha polls as an independent backed up the Left. But this time, he is contesting on the party symbol.

“We have no fear that this sudden setback will become a hurdle in winning the election. In fact, it is not a setback; we understood how the people of Chalakudy really cared for Benny Behanan. We have in no ways fallen behind in campaigning; we even covered the whole constituency once,” MLA Eldose told TNM.

Benny Behanan will restart his campaign with a road show, along with AK Antony.

“He has to take rest for at least one month. Since he insisted on campaigning, doctors have given him permission to do road shows,” said PT Thomas.

Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency comprising seven assembly segments – Kaipamangalam, Chalakudy, Kodungallur, Perumbavoor, Angamaly, Aluva and Kunnathunad – came into existence after the delimitation exercise in 2008.

Out of the seven constituencies, three - Kaipamangalam, Chalakudy and Kodungallur – are in Thrissur district and four assembly constituencies - Perumbavoor, Angamaly, Aluva and Kunnathunad – are in Ernakulam district.