Metroman E Sreedharan, fielded by the BJP in Kerala’s Palakkad constituency, lost to Congress candidate and incumbent MLA Shafi Parambil by a close margin after several rounds of counting.
This comes as a blow to the BJP which had projected him as its chief ministerial candidate for Kerala, banking on his excellent and successful work on several metro rail in various cities.
The BJP was betting on Sreedharan to make inroads into a state that has always kept away the right wing party.
During the campaign, Sreedharan, who is popularly called Metroman, had stated that he was confident of winning the seat.
He had promised increasing jobs in the constituency, and bringing in more industries and development.
The 88-year-old is credited with having transformed the face of public transport in India, and has said often that he joined politics to share his substantial administrative experience and show how a state should be “efficiently run” on the lines of the Delhi Metro.
Palakkad, which has alternated between the Left and the Congress till 2011, since when Shafi Parambil set base, had shown signs of tilting towards the BJP.
In last year’s municipality elections, BJP had come to power in Palakkad, establishing its strong roots at the ground level. This was said to be a factor that could have played a role in bringing the party close to winning the assembly constituency.
Opinion and exit polls too had predicted a victory for BJP,. Observers had then pointed to the region’s high upper-caste Hindu population that went along with Sreedharan’s reputation.