Will the 13th contest turn lucky for K Muraleedharan in Thrissur?

Muraleedharan said he has been receiving positive responses from the people of Thrissur since the start of his campaign.
UDF candidate K Muraleedharan interacts with workers at Central Warehousing Corporation godown at Kuriachira in Thrissur.
UDF candidate K Muraleedharan interacts with workers at Central Warehousing Corporation godown at Kuriachira in Thrissur. Express.

THRISSUR: Although Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s campaign in Chavakkad, under the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, was cancelled, it was a busy day for UDF candidate K Muraleedharan in Thrissur. He began his day meeting workers at Kerala Agriculture University in Mannuthy early in the morning. Muraleedharan delivered a brief speech there, mainly criticising the Central and state governments. Afterwards, his Innova car headed to Thrissur town where he had planned to meet employees of various firms.

His first stop was at the Central Warehouse Station in Kuriachira, located on the outskirts of the town, which houses several warehouses. Muraleedharan personally met with workers from all the warehouses. At the end of the campaign, a group of workers affiliated with the INTUC surrounded him, with one of them hugging him and requesting a group photo with the candidate. He agreed and posed with the workers.

“Muraliyetta, don’t let Thrissur go to anyone else. Only you can do this,” one of them shouted. “I am leading from the front. The rest is up to you. You must ensure it,” the former state Congress president boosted the workers’ spirit. After waving to all of them, he boarded his vehicle, which then headed to the godown of a prominent textile firm near Thrissur.

Muraleedharan, currently in his 13th electoral battle, faced defeat in the 1998 LS polls in Thrissur, a constituency with a history of setbacks for his family. Despite this, he exudes confidence in retaining the seat. The UDF is not only banking on his image as the son of the late chief minister K Karunakaran but also his reputation as a ‘point man’ within the Congress. His unexpected candidacy in Thrissur, after his sister switched to the BJP, doesn’t seem to be a significant factor now.

Muraleedharan said he has been receiving positive responses from the people of Thrissur since the start of his campaign. “Thrissur holds a special place in my life; it’s where I was born and schooled. It’s my father’s home turf. So, I feel no need for introduction here,” he said.

UDF candidate K Muraleedharan interacts with workers at Central Warehousing Corporation godown at Kuriachira in Thrissur.
Thrissur key to BJP’s bid to break Kerala jinx

Coincidentally, on the day, Thrissur city police commissioner Ankit Asokan was transferred following alleged ‘high-handedness’ during the Thrissur Pooram festival. Muraleedharan sought a judicial inquiry into the incident, stating, “The commissioner alone couldn’t have disrupted the pooram. Who supported him? Who was behind him? These questions need probe. The transfer of the commissioner is not an adequate step.”

When asked about his rivals, Muraleedharan emphasised that it is not a personal contest but an ideological one. “I present my ideology, and others present theirs,” he said.

After meeting with the employees, Muraleedharan and his accompanying party workers moved to another location. The campaign tour was scheduled to start at 4 pm in Varandarappilly, in Puthukadu assembly segment, where Congress workers had been eagerly waiting for Muraleedharan’s arrival.

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