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My victory is start of BJP surge in Kerala: O. Rajagopal

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My victory is start of BJP surge in Kerala: O. Rajagopal
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Thiruvananthapuram: O. Rajagopal, the 86-year-old political veteran, created history on Thursday by opening the BJP's account in the Kerala assembly when he won the Nemom seat, defeating two-time sitting legislator V. Sivankutty.

Speaking to reporters at the state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters here, an excited and happy Rajagopal said with his victory, the surge of the BJP in Kerala will now begin.

"Everyone, including the CPI-M and the Congress party, was saying that the BJP will not open its account in Kerala," said Rajagopal.

"A.K. Antony ridiculed us by saying that the BJP will have to take a visitor's pass to the assembly and take its seat in the visitors' gallery," he said.

State Bharatiya Janata Party chief Kummanam Rajasekharan tweeted: "We are entering Kerala Assembly. Dedicating this feat to the efforts of our Karyakartas, memories of our Balidanis and faith cast by voters."

BJP veteran Rajagopal defeated CPI-M legislator V. Sivankutty in the Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district by over 8,000 votes.

Even before his victory was announced, hundreds of BJP supporters began celebrating outside the counting centre.

Rajagopal had contested the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat in 1999, 2004 and 2014. He finished in the second place behind Shashi Tharoor of the Congress in 2014.

He also contested the 2011 assembly polls from Nemom and finished second. In a 2012 by-election in Neyyatinkara, he secured more than 30,000 votes but could not win.

Until Rajagopal's victory, the BJP had never won an assembly or Lok Sabha seat in Kerala.

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