Poll outcome in Vadakara keenly awaited

The high voter turnout in Vadakara could largely be attributed to the robust campaigns by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Communist Party of India ( Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the constituency.

The keen contest between Congress nominee Mullappally Ramachandran and CPI(M) candidate A.N. Shamseer was a major factor. The presence of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and smaller parties such as the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in prompted heavy polling.

Voter enthusiasm is not new to the politically conscious electorate of Vadakara. The turnout was 81.61 per cent this time. It was 80.40 per cent in 2009. Last time, the constituency also came second, behind Kannur (80.94 per cent), in the list of constituencies with highest polling. An increase of more than one percentage point revealed that the fight between the main contestants — Mr. Ramachandran and Mr. Shamseer has been tough in Vadakara. Long queues of voters were seen in booths identified as critical and sensitive.

This is the first major election after RMP leader T.P. Chandrashekaran was murdered on May 4, 2012. The Congress candidate won from this traditional Communist bastion after the candidature of T.P. Chandrasekharan cut into the vote share of the CPI(M) last time. This time, the CPI(M) marshalled all its resources to recapture the seat. This was evident when Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan devotedly campaigned in the constituency.

The electorate principally comprised those in the Thiyya and Muslim communities. The impressive turnout in Nadaparam and Kuttiyadi showed that key rivals vigorously campaigned in these regions with sizable Muslim population. Towards the end of the electioneering, political parties overtly or covertly did not mind even canvassing votes in the name of religion.

Muslim voters had always reportedly rallied behind the Congress-Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) combine in the elections. But, this time, their votes appeared to be divided after the CPI(M) too fielded a Muslim candidate. The poll outcome will tell whether the CPI (M) top leadership’s gamble in nominating a Muslim candidate in Vadakara really paid off.

The electorate confronted several issues — from the Kasturirangan report to communal disharmony to political violence. However, which way the electorate turned is still hazy.

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