Failure to put up a 'strong’ candidate against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad has created chinks in the BJP.
There was strong demand in BJP that the Wayanad seat, allotted to NDA partner BDJS, be taken over and a prominent figure be pitted against Rahul.
Several names were doing the rounds, right from superstar Suresh Gopi, MP, to party state president PS Sreedharan Pillai. Deliberations for this had begun and the party central leadership had been apprised of the matter.
However, party national president Amit Shah announced that BDJS leader Thushar Vellappally, who was to contest from Thrissur, would shift to Wayanad.
BJP sources felt that the central leadership did not heed to the state unit's plea. There was even the demand that Minister Smriti Irani, who is Rahul’s opponent in Amethi, be fielded in Wayanad also.
By fielding Thushar, a large section in the party believes that the party has sent out a message that it is not serious in putting up a fight against Rahul.
“It appeared to be a meek submission and will send wrong signals to the party workers and supporters. The party, which was riding on the sentiments against the Pinarayi Government on the Sabarimala issue, had succeeded to a great extent in consolidation of Hindus. It could have put up a strong fight against Rahul,” said a leader on condition of anonymity.