BJP president Amit Shah has announced that Thushar Vellappally of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), an ally of the party in Kerala, will be the ruling NDA's candidate against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad parliamentary constituency in Kerala.
"I proudly announce Shri Thushar Vellappally, President of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena as NDA candidate from Wayanad. A vibrant and dynamic youth leader, he represents our commitment towards development and social justice. With him, NDA will emerge as Kerala's political alternative," Mr Shah tweeted.
The Congress had announced yesterday that party president Rahul Gandhi will contest the coming Lok Sabha elections from the Wayanad parliamentary constituency besides family stronghold Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. This is the first time Mr Gandhi is contesting from a second seat.
The decision that Mr Gandhi would contest from a southern seat was taken last week by the Congress Working Committee. The party had said its southern units felt that it would boost their prospects if Mr Gandhi contested from the south as well.
The BJP has stitched a formidable alliance with BDJS and Kerala Congress in Kerala in the run up to Lok Sabha elections.
The BDJS has been allotted five Lok Sabha seats as per the seat-sharing agreement while the BJP is contesting from 14 seats and Kerala Congress from one.
Thushar Vellappally is the son of Vellappally Natesan, who is the general secretary of the influential Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, which works for the welfare of Ezhava community, a backward caste with sizeable population in Kerala.
The party was formed in 2015 and secured 4.47 per cent votes in 2016 assembly elections in Kerala.
Wayanad will vote on April 23. The counting of votes for the country will be held on May 23.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
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