In the Palakkad Lok Sabha constituency where the Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate M.B. Rajesh is seeking mandate for the second time, the front is banking on the organisational supremacy of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], especially in the Assembly constituencies of Malampuzha, Ottappalam, and Shoranur.

Malampuzha has always elected a CPI(M) nominee. Ottappalam too has mostly elected Left candidates. Shoranur, a new constituency, elected a CPI(M) candidate in the last Assembly election.

On Saturday, both Mr. Rajesh and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sobha Surendran toured the Ottappalam Assembly constituency in the scorching heat.

Mr. Rajesh started his tour along with party MLA from Ottappalam M. Hamsa, at Athirkad at 8 a.m. There was a moderate crowd, comprising mainly farmers, agriculture workers, and youth, to hear him.

He dwelt on how the policies of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre had brought misery on the people, especially with the prices of essential commodities, particularly of cooking gas, petrol, and diesel, skyrocketing.

At Pookkattukunnu, Mr. Rajesh said the Aadhaar card had put people to great hardship as it was said that no government benefits would be available without it. Now, the government had slashed the allocation for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, and no payment had been made for the past six months.

At Pookkottukavu, Mr. Rajesh said he tried to get the railway coach factory on track, but the Union government, in which eight Ministers from Kerala were members, did not do anything to get it.

At Kadambur, he spoke about the development works taken up by him in the past five years in the constituency, spending over 95 per cent of the MPs Local Area Development Fund.

In the Ottappalam constituency, Mr. Rajesh’s tour underlined the organisational supremacy of the CPI(M) as people were waiting to receive him in the blazing sun.

BJP’s campaign

Ms. Surendran also toured parts of the Assembly segment, especially the areas where her party has some pockets of influence.

Though she was a little late in launching her election campaign, the BJP candidate is trying to catch up with her main rivals here — UDF’s M.P. Veerendrakumar and LDF candidate M.B. Rajesh.

Ms. Surendran underlined the need for a change of government at the Centre, and said the ‘Modi wave’ blowing in the country would bring her party to power to end the ‘misrule’ of the Congress.

Ms. Surendran is also banking on the majority women voters in the constituency.

In all the seven Assembly segments, female voters outnumber male voters. There are 6,20,471 female voters as against 5,85,327 male voters in the Lok Sabha constituency.

The BJP, which received 68,804 votes in the last election, is hoping to make it a three-cornered contest in Palakkad.


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