Spat between PC George and Thushar Vellappally: BJP-led NDA’s headache in Kerala

PC George, who recently joined the BJP, was absent from the NDA election campaign rally in Kottayam, sparking controversy.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Mar 25, 2024 | 11:55 AMUpdatedMar 25, 2024 | 11:55 AM

PC George (left); Thushar Vellappally (right).

The day the BJP announced its candidates for the remaining seats in Kerala, on Sunday, 24 March, tensions within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the state came to the fore.

It was the absence of PC George from an NDA election campaign rally in Kottayam that has not only sparked controversy but has also laid bare the deep-seated rifts within the coalition.

George’s outspoken nature and candid remarks have often put him at odds with the BJP’s choices for candidates, particularly in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta constituencies.

Also Read: Kerala BJP goes to ECI over ‘appeasement’; Thomas Isaac gets notice

George-Thushar war brewing

On Sunday, reports came that George was not invited to the Kottayam’s NDA election convention rally at KPS Menon Hall.

When asked, he quipped that he didn’t have the tradition of attending uninvited weddings, subtly hinting at the lack of an official invitation to the NDA event.

His statement once again underscored the underlying rifts between him and some NDA candidates. George had earlier criticised the BJP’s candidates in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta constituencies — Thushar Vellappally (national president of BJP-ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena) and Anil K Antony.

Vellappally was previously in the news when BRS accused him of attempting to poach their MLAs in 2022.

Earlier, while announcing his candidature from Kottayam (as BDJS was allowed the Kottayam seat), Thushar had stated that it is up to the BJP to decide whether PC George should be a part of its campaign in Kottayam. His comments then came close on the heels of George’s allegation that BDJS leader Thushar Vellappally and SNDP Yogam leader Vellappally Natesan scuttled his chances to contest in Pathanamthitta.

George, who is said to have eyed the Kottayam seat, was reportedly miffed when Thushar announced his candidature from there.

Having recently joined the BJP, George had expressed his displeasure openly over the decision to field Anil K Antony at Pathanamthitta constituency. He then stated that no one knows Anil and that the BJP will have to go around and introduce him to the people.

Following interventions from the state leadership, George and Anil came into truce. But the new rift between George and Thushar has become a new cause for worry for the BJP’s state unit.

Also Read: Kerala BJP goes to ECI over ‘appeasement’; Thomas Isaac gets notice

PC George merged party with BJP

It was 31 January, 2024, that the Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) party, led by PC George, officially merged with the BJP.

As a prelude to this, George had convened a media conference and stated that all 112 state committee members of the Kerala Janapaksham will become BJP members.

He added then that Kerala Janapaksham was officially dissolved and this would be reported to the Election Commission of India.

George, along with his son Shaun and other Kerala Janapaksham (Secular) leaders, joined the BJP in New Delhi in the presence of Prakash Javadekar, the saffron party’s in-charge for political affairs in Kerala, and other senior leaders.

“Today, Kerala Janapaksham (Secular), led by PC George, is merging with the BJP, showing full confidence in our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji’s vision to transform India into ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047,” BJP national secretary Anil Antony said at a press conference at the party headquarters on the day of the merger.

(Edited by Kamna Revanoor)