LS polls: BJP fields its state chief Surendran against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad


PTI, Mar 25, 2024, 9:49 AM IST

Announcing candidates for the remaining four seats in Kerala, the BJP on Sunday fielded its state chief, K Surendran, in the high-profile Wayanad constituency against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

Scholar and former vice-chancellor of Sree Sankara Sanskrit University, K S Radhakrishnan, and actor-turned-politician G Krishnakumar will contest from the Ernakulam and Kollam constituencies, respectively.

T N Sarasu. former government college principal, would seek electoral luck from Alathur in the northern Palakkad district.

The BJP is striving to break decades-old bipolar politics dominated by the Congress-led UDF and the CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala.

The party had earlier announced the candidates for 12 seats. Its ally BDJS will contest four seats in the state.

With the surprise candidature of Surendran in Wayanad, a traditional Congress bastion, the BJP is trying to give a fitting reply to its opponents by fielding a strong candidate against Rahul Gandhi. CPI’s Annie Raja is the candidate of the state’s ruling Left in the constituency.

Surendran, the face of the saffron party’s fierce agitations against the entry of young women into Sabarimala years ago, has been serving as the president of the state unit of the BJP since 2020.

Hailing from Ulleyeri in Kozhikode district, Kunnummel Surendran, who began his career as Wayanad district president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, had unsuccessfully contested from Pathanamthitta in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Though he was fielded from Konni in the assembly bypoll in the same year, he couldn’t make it.

Known as a close confidant of Union Minister V Muraleedharan, Surendran lost the Manjeswaram constituency by a mere 89 votes in the 2016 Assembly polls.

A well-known scholar, writer, orator, and academician, K S Radhakrishnan joined the BJP in 2019.

He served as the vice-chancellor of Sree Sankara Sanskrit University in Kalady and the chairman of the state Public Service Commission during the tenures of the Congress-led UDF governments in the state before beginning his political career.

He unsuccessfully contested from the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Fifty-five-year-old G Krishnakumar is an actor-turned-politician and is currently a national council member of the BJP.

In 2021, Krishnakumar contested on the BJP ticket to the state assembly from Thiruvananthapuram.

T N Sarasu, a former government college principal who hit headlines over her confrontations with the Left student union, will contest from Alathur to take on sitting MP and Congress leader Remya Haridas and State Devaswom Minister and senior CPI(M) leader K Radhakrishnan.

Kerala’s 20 Lok Sabha constituencies will go to polls on April 26.

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