Giving a huge boost to the CPI-M candidate in the Thrikkakara by-election, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan cut short his foreign visit and landed in the state capital city Tuesday early morning.
Vijayan was to have spent a few days in Dubai after a two-week medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment at the Mayo Clinic in the US. Till Monday, his plans included the Dubai halt.
Driving straight to his official residence from the airport here, Vijayan is expected to take a day’s rest and leave for Kochi to lead the first election convention to take place at Thrikkakara on Thursday.
For Vijayan, who celebrates his second tenure’s first anniversary on May 20, the by-election is crucial in more ways than one.
Thrikkakara has been a stronghold of the Congress since its inception in 2011. The CPI-M in the past three elections has not been able to put up a fight and has now placed their entire focus on Vijayan, who literally single-handedly in 2021 April, led the Left to a stunning victory.
In case the Congress is able to retain its traditional hold, it could be a serious setback for Vijayan who is facing stiff opposition to the K-Rail project. The simmering discontent within the party against his autocratic style of functioning may also become full blown. Party legislator Pirappancode Murali, the closest aide of legendary CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan, has now completely withdrawn from public glare. Murali has been questioning the state of affairs within the party.
The Congress-led UDF is confident and had decided on their candidate Uma Thomas, the widow of Late P.T. Thomas who passed away in December last year. Uma has surprised all by her mature handling of the campaign. She appears to have taken the pole position.
The CPI-M presented their candidate Joseph, an interventional cardiologist, at his hospital among Catholic priests, medical professionals and CPI-M leaders. This has not been taken too well by the people. As the CPI-M was trying hard to clear this goof-up, the AAP and the local Twenty20 decided not to put up a candidate this time.
Vijayan has a tough task in Thrikkakara. Being the star campaigner for CPI-M all eyes are on his opening remarks at the Thursday’s election convention.