People in Palakkad hope either O. Rajagopal or Shashi Tharoor will make it to the new Union Cabinet.

The people of the district are not only waiting anxiously for the results of two of their Lok Sabha constituencies – Palakkad and Alathur – but also the State capital where two of their great sons are fighting it out. They are sure of one thing: a man from Palakkad will be there in the new Union Cabinet – BJP candidate O. Rajagopal or Congress nominee Shashi Tharoor.

Mr. Rajagopal is a gentleman politician revered by all sections of the people here. As the Union Minister of State for Railways in the last BJP government, he had brought several railway development projects to the State.

Mr. Tharoor, whose parents are from Palakkad, is no stranger here. He frequently visits his grandmother at his ancestral home at Elavanchery. His uncles are among the prominent CPI(M) leaders here.

The Palakkad Lok Sabha constituency this time had witnessed a high-pitched election campaign with M.P. Veerendrakumar of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) as the UDF candidate taking on M.B. Rajesh, the sitting MP of the CPI(M). The BJP, which has its pockets of influence in Palakkad, thanks to leaders like Mr. Rajagopal, fielded a strong leader, Shobha Surendran.

A traditional Left bastion, Palakkad has undergone major changes in its political complexion following the constituency delimitation in 2009. In the last Lok Sabha elections, held after the delimitation, incumbent M.B. Rajesh could only squeak past his rivals by a slender margin of 1,820 votes – a free fall from the massive victory margin of about one lakh votes scored by his senior colleague N.N. Krishnadas in 2004. Mr. Veerendrakumar is pinning his hopes on this factor.

Although Mr. Rajesh could gain only thin victory margin last time, three of the seven Assembly segments – Malampuzha, Shoranur and Ottappalam – still continue to be LDF citadels. He is banking on his party’s strength to retain the seat.

In the Alathur Lok Sabha constituency, considered a CPI(M) stronghold, Congress candidate K.A. Sheeba hopes to upset the apple cart of the sitting MP, P.K. Biju.