President of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), Thushar Vellappally, has been named as NDA's candidate against Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Kerala's Wayanad. Thushar, the son of Vellappally Kesavan Natesan, belongs to Ezhava community which makes 22 per cent of Wayanad's total population.
Thushar Vellappally is also the state convenor of NDA in Kerala. Earlier, his name was announced as a candidate from Thrissur. However, after Rahul Gandhi's announcement to pick Wayanad as the second seat, the NDA shifted Thushar to fight against him.
Although Vellappally's BDJS doesn't have much presence in the ground, the party is coming up as a third front in the political picture of Kerala – a southern state which has been ruled by the Left and the Congress for decades.
The BDJS was founded by Natesan with an aim to ensure the well-being and development of Ezhava and Thiyya community. Given the caste and religion ratio of Wayanad, the NDA hopes that Vellapally may put up some fight against Rahul Gandhi in the constituency which is considered Congress' bastion.
Vellapally's father Natesan is the General Secretary of the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana Yogam, a social and Ezhava community organisation in Kerala and the BJP is hoping that most Ezhava voters will swing in his favour. Wayanad constituency has 49.48 per cent Hindu population, including Ezhavas, 28.65 per cent Muslims and 21.43 per cent Christians.