While the BJP has never really had much of a sway in Thrissur in the past, in 2019, it prepares to make a forceful bid to wrest the constituency on the back of the support it claims to have garnered from it’s Sabarimala agitation and the surprise gains it made in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Shared News: Updated: January 24, 2019 2:21:11 pm
Preparations are in full swing in the town, with large posters and placards of the prime minister covering every inch of public space. (Express photo)
For long, the voters of Thrissur parliamentary constituency in central Kerala have remained a spectator to fierce, two-sided electoral battles between the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF). In the last five parliamentary elections, from 1998 to 2014, the seat has alternated between the Congress and the CPI, choosing to never re-elect a candidate or party. This pattern of voting also indicates how decisive the constituency’s floating voters are and the lengths to which political parties go to influence them.
While the BJP has never really had much of a sway in Thrissur in the past, this time in 2019, it is preparing to make a forceful bid to wrest the constituency on the back of the support it claims to have garnered from its Sabarimala agitation and the surprise gains it made in the 2016 Assembly elections.
Thrissur, in fact, is one of the five focus seats of the party’s leadership, alongside Thiruvananthapuram, Pathanamthitta, Kasaragod and Palakkad. Even though the popular perception is that its best chances of a victory lie only in Thiruvananthapuram, the party leadership is keen to make contests in all these seats a three-cornered one.
It is in this context that the BJP has managed to get Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address a public rally in Thrissur on January 27 (Sunday), the last day of the three-day state convention of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the party’s youth wing. Over 3 lakh people are expected to attend the mammoth rally at the Thekkinkadu Maidan in the centre of the town, usually reserved for temple festivals. PM Modi, who is also inaugurating the Rs 16,500 crore Integrated Refinery Expansion Project of the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Kochi the same day, will fly to Thrissur in the evening to address the rally, before returning to New Delhi. Thrissur incidentally was the first town he visited in Kerala after being elected to office in 2014.