A sudden turnaround by the Socialist Janata Democratic (SJD), a new constituent of United Democratic Front (UDF), can affect the prospects of Congress candidate K. Achuthan in Chittur.
The relationship between the SJD and the Congress had soured after the Congress leadership denied Chittur seat to SJD general secretary K. Krishnankutty. The SJD was offered Nemmara as an alternative seat, which the party refused.
The rift was intensified with a statement of Mr. Achuthan on Friday that he will not ‘beg' the SJD for support. This infuriated the SJD, which called a press conference on Saturday in Palakkad to announce that they will not work for the UDF candidate in Chittur as he had “openly insulted the party with his statement that he does not need our support to win.”
Though Chittur is a stronghold of the Congress, Mr. Achuthan won the seat last time against LDF candidate K. Krishnankutty with a margin of less than 2,000 votes. After delimitation, Chittur constituency lost Vadavannur grama panchayat, a Congress bastion. The two panchayats added to it after delimitation are LDF strongholds — Peruvembu and Polpully, that were part of Malampuzha constituency.
These changes and the hostile stand of the SJD could make things tougher for Mr. Achuthan, the sitting MLA, who is contesting for the fourth time from Chittur. But he can find comfort in the fact that in the last Lok Sabha election and in the local body election, the UDF won by over 25,000 votes in Chittur. The SJD claims that this huge margin is because of their joining the UDF, deserting the LDF.
Chittur constituency now consists of Chittur-Thathamangalm municipality and the grama panchayats of Eruthiyampathy, Kozhinjampara, Nalleppilly, Pattancherry, Perumatty, Peruvembu, Polpully and Vadakarapathy. Except for the newly added grama panchayats of Peruvembu and Polpully, all are ruled by UDF.