‘Metro Man’ and BJP’s freshly minted member E Sreedharan is winning in Kerala’s Palakkad with 6,754 votes. His party is leading in 4 seats in the state, latest trends show.
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) led by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has crossed the halfway mark of 71 with 85 seats, the latest trends also show. The Congress and its allies are leading in 50 seats.
Palakkad’s significance for the BJP is that the party came second in this seat in the last state election. The Palakkad municipality is also governed by the BJP. The Congress’s Shafi Parambil won in Palakkad by over 17,000 votes in the last election. He has been fielded again on this seat by the party.
The BJP is hoping to capitalise on the goodwill of Mr Sreedharan, 88, a former engineer who led the Delhi Metro and other big projects across the country, in the hope of getting winning votes.
Mr Sreedharan first made headlines while restoring the historic Pamban bridge in Tamil Nadu, the link between the island Rameshwaram and the mainland, after it was damaged by a cyclone. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2008.
Mr Sreedharan’s entry into electoral politics was played down by the BJP’s rivals in Kerala before the election. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said he thought the ‘metro man’ would have a “minimal impact”.