Palakkad is no stranger to the heat and dust of the summer, but what the Lok Sabha constituency is currently witness to is the scorcher of a contest, involving all the three major players in Kerala’s political arena.

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 of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] could only squeak past his rivals by a slender margin of 1,820 votes, a free fall from the massive victory margin of near 1 lakh votes scored by his colleague N.N. Krishnadas in 2004.

This time round, he is pitted against Socialist Janata (Democratic) State president M.P. Veerendrakumar and Bharatiya Janata Party’s firebrand woman leader Sobha Surendran, among others.

Although Mr. Rajesh could win with only a wafer thin margin, three of the seven Assemby segments — Malampuzha, Shoranur and Ottappalam — still continue to be Left Democratic Front (LDF) citadels. In the Kongad segment, both the fronts are equally placed. In the other three constituencies — Mannarkkad, Pattambi and Palakkad — the United Democratic Front (UDF) has an upper hand as it had won them with good majority in the last Assembly election.

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