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Meet Suresh Gopi, the new Thrissur MP who created history for BJP by delivering the first Lok Sabha seat for the party in Kerala

The BJP's campaign under Gopi's leadership was primarily centred on local issues, particularly the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scandal, which contributed to widespread dissatisfaction with the CPI(M) among Thrissur residents.

The 2024 Lok Sabha election witnessed several historic events, from all the anti-BJP parties coming together with one sole aim to dethrone Prime Minister Narendra Modi to BJP winning its first-ever Lok Sabha seat in Kerala. On the 4th of June, actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi created history for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has long struggled to gain a foothold in Kerala’s political arena. Suresh Gopi is set to win the Thrissur seat against CPI’s VS Sunilkumar.

Source: ECI website

Suresh Gopi’s entry into politics was as dramatic as his film roles. He joined the BJP in 2016 and was nominated as a Rajya Sabha MP the same year. His candidature was seen as a strategic move by the BJP to leverage his popularity and appeal to a broader demographic in Kerala, a state traditionally dominated by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Interestingly, Gopi’s journey was not without challenges. Kerala’s political scene is fiercely competitive, and the BJP’s ideology often faces resistance in the state. However, Gopi’s popularity and his image as a clean, hardworking person played a crucial role in overcoming these barriers. His victory is seen as a testament to his dedication towards his people and party as well as the changing political dynamics in Kerala.

Beyond star power, how Suresh Gopi became an approachable and dedicated leader

While Suresh Gopi’s popularity and widespread recognition helped draw large crowds to his campaign events, making his presence felt across the constituency, his previous stint as a Rajya Sabha MP also bolstered his political credibility. Gopi’s personal involvement in welfare activities, such as funding medical expenses for needy families and contributing to local causes, further strengthened his image as a compassionate and approachable leader​.

Suresh Gopi at a roadshow in Thrissur (Source: Kerala Kaumudi)

The BJP’s campaign under Gopi’s leadership was primarily centred on local issues, particularly the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scandal, which contributed to widespread dissatisfaction with the CPI(M) among Thrissur residents. Gopi’s padayatra, dedicated to scam victims, emphasised his dedication to addressing local concerns and corruption, which resonated strongly with voters. His ability to pivot towards pressing needs and provide direct assistance, including visiting impacted families and offering financial support, was critical in earning voter support.​  

Beyond his political and cinematic achievements, Suresh Gopi is known for his philanthropic efforts. He has been actively involved in various social causes, including education and healthcare. The actor-turned-politician also runs a charitable trust which works towards the welfare of the underprivileged, further cementing his image as a public servant committed to social justice.

BJP’s national leadership strongly backed Suresh Gopi

It is essential for a party, especially in BJP’s case, to strongly back its candidate on a turf where the possibility of a positive outcome is seemingly less. Suresh Gopi received robust backing from the BJP’s national leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BJP’s central government’s achievements and national policies were central to Gopi’s campaign, reinforcing the party’s message of development and good governance. PM Modi’s visit to Thrissur underscored the party’s support, boosting Gopi’s campaign visibility and credibility​.

PM Modi at actor Suresh Gopi’s daughter’s wedding in January 2024

Suresh Gopi’s inclusive approach helped him win hearts across communities and make the “lotus” bloom

The 2024 election in Thrissur was characterized by a triangular contest between Gopi, CPI’s V S Sunil Kumar, and Congress’s K Muraleedharan. Gopi’s efforts to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters, including the Christian community through symbolic but significant gestures like offering a golden crown to a church, helped him navigate the diverse demographic landscape. Additionally, the anti-incumbency sentiment against the ruling Left Front in Kerala, coupled with internal strife within rival parties, played to Gopi’s advantage​.

Moreover, extensive grassroots campaigning, where Suresh Gopi visited every constituency in Thrissur, ensured direct voter engagement. His efforts to address both significant issues and minor local disputes showcased his dedication to his constituents, fostering a strong personal connection with the electorate. This hands-on approach, combined with the BJP’s strategic intervention in local disputes, helped shift traditional CPI(M) strongholds towards the BJP.

Suresh Gopi’s victory in Thrissur resulted from a well-planned campaign that included his personal appeal, effective addressing of local issues, strong party support, and deliberate voter involvement. This multifaceted approach helped the BJP win its first Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, marking a historic breakthrough for the party in the state.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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