Suresh Gopi’s victory to have far-reaching impact in Kerala politics

From 1952 to 2019, Thrissur elected LDF candidates 10 times and UDF candidates seven times.
BJP workers in Kozhikode celebrating the party victory in Thrissur
BJP workers in Kozhikode celebrating the party victory in Thrissur Photo | Express

KOCHI: Suresh Gopi’s victory in the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, with a commendable margin of 75,000 votes, will have a resounding impact on the politics of Kerala, which had kept right-wing politics at bay until now. The lone seat in Kerala may serve as a springboard for the BJP for further expansion in a state that has long shunned its outreach efforts.

BJP workers in Kozhikode celebrating the party victory in Thrissur
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Gopi’s victory is also a personal achievement for the actor-politician, highlighting his perseverance and sustained presence in Thrissur despite defeats in the 2019 Lok Sabha and the 2021 assembly elections.

All seven assembly segments in the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency are currently held by LDF, making Gopi’s win even more significant. The Thrissur Lok Sabha seat presents complexities for parties owing to its unpredictable political history. Over the past six elections, incumbent MPs have often tasted defeat. From 1952 to 2019, Thrissur elected LDF candidates 10 times and UDF candidates seven times.

However, many political experts caution against viewing Gopi’s win as an outright political victory for BJP. They attribute the success more to Gopi’s personal appeal and widespread acceptance, which transcend politics. His persona is characterised by compassion, virtue, and a straightforward, albeit slightly loud, demeanour.

Writer and Thrissur resident Sara Joseph said the victory has more to do with Gopi’s acceptance and fan following as an actor and anchor of a popular television quiz show.

“He has a dedicated fan following among youths, and has done several charitable works in the constituency. He is seen by people as a man of compassion. It is not a political victory for BJP, or it would have reflected in other places, more specifically Thiruvananthapuram,” she said.

However, BJP state vice-president C Sadanandan Master said the party started its preparations over 18 months in advance and was meticulous in coordinating across thousands of booths. “(There’s) No doubt that Gopi’s personality complemented the work done by the party. This victory has to be seen as a combination of his work in the last five years in the constituency and BJP’s dedicated work at the grassroots,” Sadanandan said.

‘PM Modi, Indira Gandhi my heroes’

Reacting after his victory, Suresh Gopi expressed his admiration for Narendra Modi and Indira Gandhi terming them his heroes. He said he got votes from people belonging to opposing fronts. The votes he received were for the individual and not for his political ideology, the actor-politician said.

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