How Kerala’s ‘Mayor Bro’ VK Prasanth Reversed the Toughest Odds to Win Vattiyoorkkav Bypoll
When VK Prasanth was introduced as the candidate in the bypolls, the statistics were against him as the UDF and the BJP together had polled more than one lakh votes in the constituency just four months ago in the general elections.
File photo of VK Prasanth.
Thiruvananthapuram: The man of impossible missions, VK Prasanth, has done it again. Against all odds, the ‘mayor bro’ as he is more popularly known now, defeated UDF candidate K Mohan Kumar and NDA candidate S Suresh in the right-wing bastion of Vattiyoorkkav in the assembly bypolls by a comfortable margin of 14,438 votes.
Prasanth registered 54,782 votes after being nary a chance to win by pundits. After his win, he told reporters that the victory was expected and never in doubt. He is now developing a habit of proving his doubters wrong.
At the age of 34, he had become the youngest mayor of Kerala’s largest corporation in 2015. Then, he became the driving force in packing more than 80 truckloads of relief materials for the flood-hit northern districts of the state as a quick response to the negative comments on the thekkan-vadakkan (south-north) issue that swamped social media platforms.
The CPM-led LDF’s chances had looked bleak in the run-up to the by-election in Vattiyoorkkav, one of the key Assembly constituencies in the state.
It hosts almost all the major political and administrative offices, such as the Legislative Assembly, official residences of the chief minister, the Governor, several ministers and the headquarters of all the three major political parties – the CPM, the Congress and the BJP.
Although the CPM is in power in the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, it had in the last two elections - 2016 Assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha – suffered humiliating defeats. On both the occasions, it had finished third.
When Prasanth was introduced as the candidate in the bypolls, the statistics were against him as the UDF and the BJP together had polled more than one lakh votes in the constituency just four months ago in the general elections. A victory seemed distant.
To make things worse, the Nair Service Society, the organisation of the largest community in the constituency, took a stand against the LDF in the by-polls to five seats in the state. Moreover, the BJP gave its ticket to district president S Suresh, against the expectations of even party workers, which meant a deluge of anti-CPM votes would go to the Congress candidate.
However, the image of the Mayor Bro as a young energetic leader coupled with a well-oiled meticulous campaign by the LDF changed the scenario.
Coming back to the flood relief, there was a general feeling that work done was lukewarm compared to 2018 floods because north Kerala was the most affected area this time and the south and central regions did not respond fully. Then Prasanth guided volunteers and lorry drivers at the flood relief collection point at the Corporation office with tireless energy, for several days and nights. It earned him the moniker of ‘Mayor Bro’ from netizens along with a 'truckload' of trolls on his enthusiasm and energy.
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