Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency, home to a large number of rubber cultivators and one of the primary trading centres of natural rubber, is all set to witness a fierce fight between sitting MP and UDF candidate Jose K. Mani, and the LDF’s JDS nominee Mathew T. Thomas in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The election is a prestigious one for UDF as Mr. Mani, who is seeking a second term, is the son of K.M. Mani, Finance Minister and Chief of KC(M), the third largest partner in the ruling Congress-led UDF.

Victory for UDF is all the more important as Puthupalli, the Assembly segment of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, falls in this constituency.

“I am 100 per cent confident of victory as people will recognise the development works initiated by me,” Mr. Mani said.

On the rubber price issue, he said, “I have carried out protests inside and outside Parliament on the matter.”

Mathew T. Thomas is presently the MLA representing the Thiruvalla Assembly segment and was also a minister in the previous LDF government headed by V.S. Achuthanandan. He is the JD(S) state president.

“Campaign is going on in full swing and soaring prices of essential commodities and fall in rubber price are some of the issues being highlighted in election meetings,” he said.

People of the constituency have shown an interesting preference in electing candidates to the Parliament.

Congress candidates won in the elections in 1989, 1991 and 1996, while the CPI(M) nominee of the LDF won in the polls in 1998, 1999 and 2004.

Jose Mani recaptured the constituency from LDF in 2009 by a huge margin of more than 71,000 votes defeating the CPI(M) firebrand leader Suresh Kurup, now an MLA in the Assembly.

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