Who will win the ‘hearts’ of Thrikkakara voters?

The main political die in Kerala’s Thrikkakara has been cast with the CPI-M also announcing its candidate after the Congress, whose contestant has already hit the campaign trail, while the BJP and the combine of AAP-Twenty20 are yet to announce theirs for the May 31 Assembly bypoll.

After a bit of confusion over the CPI-M candidate, the party on Thursday evening announced the name of a popular interventional cardiologist at a private hospital, 43-year-old Joe Joseph.

As soon as Joseph’s name was announced, tongues started wagging that he was being promoted by the Catholic Church.

Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan on Friday said when they named Uma Thomas, widow of Late P.T. Thomas, who was the sitting legislator of Thrikkakara, the CPI-M accused them of trying to whip a sympathy wave.

“Just look to the depths that the CPI-M has fallen and it appears the candidate has been forced upon by ‘external’ forces. Even though it is not our concern, the CPI-M should explain this. All know the CPI-M named a full-fledged party member and his name was written all over and see who is their candidate now,” said Satheesan.

State Industries Minister P.Rajeev, who hails from Kochi, said, “Satheesan appears to be rattled by our candidate and he has been caught napping and hence it’s understandable that why is he speaking like this. We know that Joseph is a popular figure in social circles in the constituency and we are going to win easily.”

State Tourism Minister and son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, P.A. Mohammed Riyas exuded absolute confidence and had no doubt of the victory of Joseph.

“He is a party man and social media has a video that has gone viral where at a party election meet in the April 2021 Assembly polls, Joseph is saying that the Left will win 100 seats. We are all confident that this candidate will hit a sixer and the Left will reach a century in the Kerala Legislative assembly,” said Riyas.

In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the Left has 99 seats and the Congress-led UDF now has 40 seats with the Thrikkakara seat lying vacant.

71-year-old Thomas won a second successive win at Thrikkakara in the April 2021 elections by increasing his margin by a few thousand votes over his 2016 margin.

There was a clear difference of around 11 per cent votes between Thomas and the then CPI-M backed independent candidate, who was also a medical professional.

Meanwhile, the BJP is expected to announce their candidate later in the day.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is expected to arrive in the constituency to campaign for the joint candidate of AAP and Twenty20, is yet to be announced.

All eyes are on how many votes the BJP and the combined candidate of AAP-Twenty20 are going to get which is going to be crucial for the performance of both the cardiologist Joe Joseph and Uma Thomas. The million dollar question is — who will eventually win the hearts of the electorate of Thrikkakara?

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