By Arun Jayan
Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) [India], March 29 (ANI): With 14 assembly segments, the Thiruvananthapuram district is witnessing a triangular fight this year in the assembly polls, a reason why national leaders of all three prominent fronts are making a beeline to the district, turning it into a high voltage campaign.
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) is riding on the success it reaped in 2016 assembly polls, while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is counting on the vote share it received in the district in the local body polls that BJP hopes will work in its favour. Meanwhile, the United Democratic Front (UDF) that swept the 2019 general elections, winning 19 out of the 20 parliamentary constituencies in the state, is hoping that the district would back them this time.
In the last assembly polls in 2016, the LDF won nine seats, the same number of seats that the UDF managed to win in 2011 assembly polls including a seat it pocketed in the by-poll. The BJP-led NDA had also opened its account in Kerala with Nemom electing O Rajagopal.
This time Nemom is witnessing a prestigious battle that is evident in the campaign with BJP fielding former Mizoram governor Kummanam Rajashekaran, who is pitched against Congress sitting MP from Vadakara K Muraleedharan and CPI(M) with V Shivankutty is trying to regain the seat.
While in nearby Kazhakootam, odds are turned against the sitting MLA and Devasom Minister Kadakampally Surendran after an apology by him on Sabarimala women's entry was used by both Congress and BJP against the ruling front in their campaigns. With the issue becoming a major poll plank, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan distanced himself from it and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury went one step ahead saying that CM would seek clarification from him.
Shoba Surendran, another BJP candidate, who started her campaign after praying in an Ayyappa temple, set the tone for the race forcing the Congress candidate SS Lal who is projected as the Health Minister candidate saying that Sabarimala is a main campaign issue here.
In Vattiyoorkavu, one of the eight constituencies in Kerala where NDA finished second last time, BJP is pinning its hope on district president VV Rajesh who had won the local body polls. Former Mayor VK Prashanth, who enjoys predominant support from youths after his role in collecting relief materials during Kerala floods, is the CPI(M) candidate in the area. The new face of Congress is Veena S Nair.
While in Kovalam, the coastal belt and also the main tourism destination, the fishermen votes have a big say. Neela Lohithadassa Nadar, is the JD(S) candidate for Left where there is a considerable number of Nadar votes too. While sitting MLA M Vincent is the Congress candidate. NDA has fielded Vishnupuram Chandrashekaran aiming the Nadar and Dalit votes.
In Thiruvananthapuram, the sitting seat of Congress that stood with VS Sivakumar is again witnessing a triangular fight. While the Left candidate is Antony Raju, BJP has fielded TV actor Krishnakumar.
For close to three decades the constituency of Aruvikkara stood with Congress. After the death of former Kerala Speaker G Karthikeyan, his son KS Sabarinathan got elected. G Stephen is fighting assembly polls for the first time as the CPI(M) candidate, while C Shivankutty is the BJP candidate.
Though CPI(M) is confident of retaining Neyyattinkara through K Ansalan, Congress candidate R Selvaraj enjoys good support where Nadar Christian votes play a crucial role in the poll victory. Meanwhile, Chenkal S Rajasekharan Nair is the BJP candidate here.
It is a close fight in Kattakada as well with IB Satheesh, the CPI(M) candidate is taking on PK Krishnadas of BJP and Malayinkeezh Venugopal of Congress. (ANI)
Kerala polls: Thiruvananthapuram district witnessing high-stakes triangular fight in 14 seats
ANI | Updated: Mar 29, 2021 10:57 IST
By Arun Jayan