Kerala bypoll: Star campaigner Vijayan’s return likely to be delayed

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CPI-M’s star campaigner for the May 31 Thrikkakara Assembly bypoll, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, currently undergoing treatment in a US hospital, might miss the first election convention of the party on May 12 as his return is likely to get delayed.

The traditional rival candidates at the Thrikkakara Assembly constituency filed their nomination papers on Monday.

Vijayan was expected to return on Tuesday, but according to sources, he might not make it for the convention, but will be present in the third and fourth week of the month to lead the campaign.

On Monday, the CPI-M candidate Joe Joseph, an interventional cardiologist was the first to file the nomination papers followed by Uma Thomas, the widow of P.T.Thomas, the Congress legislator who won two times at Thrikkakara, but passed away in December last year.

The third candidate in the fray is senior BJP leader A.N.Radhakrishnan, who is expected to file his papers on Tuesday.

Earlier, Thrikkakara was being seen as tough multi-cornered fight till Sunday, when the AAP and Twenty20, which had planned to field a joint candidate, announced not to field any, leaving it a stiff battle between the principal rival parties the CPI-M and the Congress.

When P.T.Thomas last year won with a margin of 13,813 votes, the Twenty20 candidate finished fourth but got 13,773.

So with them no longer in the fray, it is to be seen which of the two traditional rivals will get the benefit. Also, all eyes are on the arrival of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, later this week, to announce their decision on what their supporters need to do on polling day May 31.

Twenty20 in charge Sabu Thomas, who owns KITEX group of companies – which following a tiff with the Vijayan government moved its unit to Telangana last year – is very unlikely to support the Left candidate.

Commenting on this, P.V.Srinijin, CPI-M legislator from the Kunnanathunadu (the constituency that borders Thrikkakara) took on the Congress and said: “Late P.T.Thomas would be really upset if the Congress seeks the support of Twenty20, as Sabu and P.T.Thomas were always at loggerheads.”

V.D.Satheesan, Leader of Opposition and one who is leading the campaign of Uma, also welcomed the decision of the AAP and Twenty20 not to field their candidate.

“It’s good that the two have decided not to field a joint candidate because if they did, then the anti-Pinarayi Vijayan votes would have been split. We wish to make it clear that we have neither an overt nor a covert understanding with any. The CPI-M was hoping that these two field a joint candidate, so they will be the beneficiary as the anti government votes will be split and now they are making baseless things about an understanding. We have no understanding with anyone,” said Satheesan.

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