Multi-pronged strategy to win back Kozhikode, Vadakara

Constituency watch: Kerala

Having learnt from its previous debacle, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to win back the Kozhikode and the Vadakara Lok Sabha constituencies in the district.

The party had started its preparations in February itself, coinciding with the Kerala Raksha Yatra led by CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan. The primary objective of the ‘yatra’ was to galvanise the activists into action.

Party functionaries ensured that its machinery had been geared up in all the 13 Assembly segments in the district. Seven Assembly segments come under the Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency, five in Vadakara, and the remaining one (Thiruvambadi Assembly segment) in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

Workers from 1,883 booths in the district took out separate rallies for the event. Nearly 8,000 squads took up door-to-door campaigns.

A senior leader said the ‘yatra’ sounded the poll bugle for the party even before the leadership cleared the names of candidates.

“We may have brought in candidates from outside the district. But, A. Vijayaraghavan and A.N. Shamseer, party candidates from Kozhikode and Vadakara respectively, have been chosen after deliberations at the State committee to win back the seats,” he said.

General convener

M. Bhaskaran, former Kozhikode Mayor and CPI (M) district secretariat member, was appointed general convener of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) election committee for the Kozhikode constituency and M.V. Jayarajan, MLA, for the Vadakara constituency.

For long, the CPI(M) had considered Kozhikode and Vadakara its bastions. The defeat of its nominees P.A. Mohammed Riyas and P. Sathidevi respectively made the party leadership meticulously plan for the elections this time.

Threats faced

The presence of the candidates of the Edathupaksha Ekopana Samiti, a breakaway faction formed by M.R. Murali, had posed a stiff challenge to the party in both the constituencies. The Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) had also entered the fray by campaigning against political violence. CPI(M) poll managers said the party would buck the trend with Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan endorsing the official stand of the party in the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case.

Anti-incumbency factor

The party leadership was of the opinion that anti-incumbency factor would work against M.K. Raghavan and Mullappally Ramachandran, both MPs.

Also, they hoped, that the corruption charges levelled against the Congress and its allies at the Centre would help their candidates.

Systematic campaigns and legislators camping with the candidates had brought in a new lease of life to the process, party sources said.

Such electioneering work was seen during the Assembly polls in 2011 when the CPI(M)-led LDF won 10 out of the 13 seats in the district. The leadership had been successful in quelling the rebellion in the party in the rural belts. This would show in the polls on April 10, they said.

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