Scams, controversies, and political issues at the national and State level are all in the air, but what dominates the campaign scene in the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency is the ‘RSP factor,’ the reference being to the decision of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) to switch sides on election eve. Therefore, what Kollam witnesses is essentially a straight contest between United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate N.K. Premachandran and Left Democratic Front (LDF) nominee and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby.

When RSP is the main talking point, the oft-heard word cannot but be ‘betrayal’ — the LDF accusing the RSP of having betrayed the Opposition alliance by walking out of it and the RSP and Congress accusing the CPI(M) of having betrayed the trust that RSP had reposed in it to protect its interests as an Opposition alliance partner.

Even Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s P.M. Velayudhan has found in it an apt theme to highlight how undependable the two alliances and their constituents are.

The RSP factor has eclipsed the ‘solar scam,’ but there are indications that the K. Kasturirangan issue is poised to influence voters in the highranges of Punalur assembly segment which has ecologically sensitive areas demarcated by the K. Kasturirangan committee. Both the alliances have, more or less, similar positions on the issue and the BJP is in favour of the Gadgil Committee report. Hence, the voter behaviour in the Punalur Assembly segment may have to be watched keenly.

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