The battle for Vadakara in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections will be a keenly watched one in the State for multiple reasons.
This will be the first major election to be held after the brutal murder of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T.P. Chandrashekaran on May 4, 2012.
Five years ago, his candidature dented the Communist fortress and led to the defeat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] nominee, P. Sathidevi.
The constituency is known for its political and communal sensitiveness. It comprises seven Assembly segments – Koyilandy, Vadakara, Kuttiyadi, Perambra and Nadapuram in Kozhikode district and Thalassery and Koothuparamba segments in Kannur district.
Vadakara also perhaps has the highest number of vulnerable booths in the State.
After intra-party dissidence led to the shock defeat of Ms Sathidevi in 2009, Vadakara became a prestigious electoral battleground.
Union Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran is seeking a second term and is banking on his achievements in the constituency.
On the other hand, the CPI(M) has roped in Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) State Joint Secretary A.N. Shamsheer to take on the veteran Congress leader who had broken the winning streak of the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the constituency.
Mr. Shamsheer, who is also the CPI(M) Kannur district committee member, was a surprise choice and initially the decision did not go down well with the party district committee.
He was earlier the State secretary of the Students Federation of India and had also been the first chairman of Kannur University. The party leadership believes Shamsheer can win back its traditional bastion.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)has nominated its party spokesperson V.K. Sajeevan. He had contested the 2011 Assembly elections from Kuttiyadi.
The BJP hopes to improve its vote share cashing in on the Modi factor.
After K.K. Rema, widow of Chandrasekharan, stood firm on her decision not to contest the elections, the RMP zeroed in on P. Kumarankutty, State secretariat member.
Mr. Kumarankutty, one of the two special prosecutors in Chandrasekharan murder case, had earlier been a member of the CPI(M) Kozhikode South Area Committee and a Kozhikode Corporation councillor.
Now with the battle lines drawn for the April 10 elections, the Congress hopes to repeat its performance while the CPI(M) is pinning on anti-incumbency to work against Mr. Ramachandran.
Which way the electorate will turn also depends on how the RMP strategically plays its card. Last time the dissident outfit Edathupaksha Ekopana Samithi (Left Coordination Committee) transferred votes in favour of the Congress candidate to ensure the defeat of the CPI(M).
In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Ramachandran registered leads in six out of the seven assembly segments except Thalassery.
But in the last 2011 Assembly elections, the LDF turned the tide by winning six Assembly seats except Koothuparamba.