Wags say that one can buy at Kunnamkulam a duplicate for anything.
The reference celebrates the land's entrepreneurial ingenuity.
Seeking a second term, sitting MLA Babu M. Palissery of the CPI(M) hopes to duplicate electoral success.
In 2006 Assembly elections, the Left had scored its most emphatic victory in Kunnamkulam. The victory margin was above 20,000. Mr. Palissery claims that he had implemented schemes for Rs. 128 crore in the constituency.
“To improve power supply and solve low voltage problem, sub-stations were set up at Konganur and Kanipayyur and 136 transformers installed. The Government Hospital in Kunnamkulam was elevated to status of a taluk hospital. The Choondal-Kuttipuram national highway was renovated. Development activities that cost Rs. 7 crore were carried out in the Kunnamkulam Polytechnic,” he says. He promises a slew of measures to solve traffic bottlenecks.
He is pitted against C. P. John of the Communist Marxist Party, former member of the Kerala State Planning Board, ace orator, socio-economic analyst and development expert.
Mr. John argues that despite LDF claims about development villages of Kunnamkulam look woefully under-developed.
“Many places lack basic amenities. The agriculture sector is in crisis. There are serious problems in drinking water supply,” he says.
He had started his career as an activist of the Students' Federation of India.
He says that his long experience in the field of planning would help him develop the constituency.
In formulating a new philosophy of planning and chalking out new approaches to complex socio-economic issues, Mr. John acknowledges his debt to V. Ramachandran, former vice-chairman of the Kerala State Planning Board. As director of Kudumbasree Mission, Mr. John used the organisation for empowering women through lease-land farming. He had played a major role in a team that conceived and implemented the Ashraya project.
Delay in selecting the candidate had affected UDF's campaign in Kunnamkulam. In past Assembly elections there, the Left has won eight times and the Congress five times.
Of the panchayats in the constituency, Porkkulam, Velur, Erumapetty, Kadangode and Kattakkambal are ruled by the UDF. The LDF controls the Kadavallur and Chovannur panchayats. With the support of the Edathuaksha Ekopana Samithy, the Congress rules the Kunnamkulam municipality.
Following delimitation, four panchayats that were a part of former Kunnakulam have been attached to Wadakkanchery. Five panchayats in the former Wadakkanchery constituency are now in the Kunnamkulam segment.
BJP candidate K. K. Aneesh Kumar pooh-poohs the sitting MLA's claims about development. “Drive along the roads of Kunnamkulam, and you understand that the claims are hollow,” he says.