AAP, RMP, SDPI all have nominees in Kozhikode, Vadakara

Mainstream political parties, especially the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M], are losing sleep over the enthusiastic campaign of small parties in the Kozhikode and Vadakara Lok Sabha constituencies.

Normally winnable candidates of these parties used to ensure that their traditional vote share does not get depleted or transferred to the national contender, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose candidates are more active during the Lok Sabha polls. This time the party is putting additional thrust on their electioneering work when there is a perception that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is on the cusp of winning power.

Now the entry of the parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Left United Front— an umbrella outfit of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP), Socialist Unity Centre of India and the Marxist Communist Party of India (United) (MCPI-U)—are also giving threats to them in equal measure. This apart, nominees of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Independents and namesake candidates are also in the fray, all of which could mar the chances of the bigger parties. This is significant in the two constituencies as neither of the winning candidate had won more than 50 per cent of the total votes polled in the previous elections.

Small margin

In 2009, M.K. Raghavan won Kozhikode by a margin of 838 votes defeating his nearest rival P.S. Mohammed Riyas of the CPI (M). Then the BJP candidate V. Muraleedharan won 89,718 votes. However, several other candidates, including four Mohammed Riyas and two Raghavans secured 24,562 votes.

In Vadakara too, Mullappally Ramachandran won by a margin of 56,186 votes against the CPI(M) nominee P. Sathidevi. Then the BJP candidate obtained 40,391 votes and other five candidates, including RMP leader T.P. Chandrasekharan, two Sathidevis and a Ramachandran got 36,420 votes.

The most classic example of a namesake candidate mustering a large chunk of the votes of the official candidate was in Alappuzha in 2004. Then an Independent candidate, V.S. Sudheeran, got more than 8,000 votes in the Alappuzha constituency when Congress candidate V.M. Sudheeran lost to K.S. Manoj of the CPI(M) by 1,009 votes.

13 candidates

This time there are 13 candidates in the fray in Kozhikode and 11 in Vadakara. The two main candidates in Kozhikode are M.K. Raghavan, sitting MP of the Congress, and A. Vijayaraghavan of the CPI (M) while Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran is pitted against A.N. Shamseer of the CPI(M) in Vadakara.

The BJP candidates are C.K. Padmanabhan and V.K. Sajeevan, in Kozhikode and Vadakara respectively, while RMP has nominated two former councillors of the Kozhikode Corporation N.P. Pratapkumar (Kozhikode) and P. Kumarankutty (Vadakara). AAP has fielded K.P. Ratheesh (Kozhikode) and film-maker Ali Akbar (Vadakara). Mustapha Komeri and P. Abdul Hameed are the SDPI candidates in Kozhikode and Vadakara respectively.

Namesakes

Both Mr. Raghavan and Vijayaraghavan have namesake candidates — M. Raghavan and V.M. Raghavan; M. Vijayaraghavan and K. Vijayaraghavan.

Similarly Mr. Shamseer faces a namesake candidate, P. Shamseer.

Thus the presence of the Independents and smaller parties could be a game changer in these Lok Sabha polls too.

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