Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Kerala Assembly Elections | A secure red fortress shows signs of faltering

Voters in Beypore have long forgotten the maverick electoral experiment CoLeBi (short for Congress-League-BJP) alliance of the 1991 Assembly polls in their constituency. But the waves of the political engineering conceived by the BJP as a quid pro quo relationship with the Congress-IUML combine to secure a seat in the legislature still hit the shoreline of this ancient port town and elsewhere in the State.

Electoral politics of Beypore has remained the same after the CoLeBi experiment failed to take off with the CPI(M) winning the seat and the party maintaining that winning streak. But the so-called unbreachable red fortress is showing signs of faltering with the BJP making a dent in vote share of the CPI(M). A reason to be cited is the interplay of religion and politics in the segment that has Hindus and Muslims equally sharing the demographic profile.

The CPI(M) has fielded Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) president P.A. Mohammed Riyas, who is entering the fray after a hiatus following his debacle in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. He had also tasted defeat in maiden electoral contest from the Palayam division in the Kozhikode Corporation polls in 2005.

His candidacy with the tag ‘the son-in-law of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’ has given the constituency a glamour quotient. But old-timers believe that the meteoric rise of Mr. Riyas would also be a liability for the party in the polls. Others strongly feel that a new power centre led by him is emerging in the party.

Strong undercurrents in the form of religious polarisation could also mar his chances. Many including local leaders as well as former Mayor and incumbent legislator V.K.C. Mammed Koya had set their eyes on the seat.

But his poll managers are confident Mr. Riyas will sail through even in the fiercest electoral storm. In the recent 2020 local body polls, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) secured a lead of over 5,000 votes in the constituency. However, it lost the Feroke and Ramanattukara municipalities to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

In an attempt to capture the seat, the Congress has fielded KPCC general secretary and Kozhikode Corporation councillor P.M. Niyas, son of the late trade unionist K. Sadiikoya. But his electioneering has been debilitated by factionalism in the party and hamstrung by financial resources.

However, the victory of the Congress in Lok Sabha polls has greatly boosted the morale of the party workers who believe that the anti-incumbency factor will work in his favour.

Meanwhile, the BJP which is slowly making inroads in Beypore, has fielded its State secretary Prakash Babu, who is contesting for the second time in a row. He also unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Kozhikode in 2019. At best, the party can improve its performance.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:52:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/a-secure-red-fortress-shows-signs-of-faltering/article34141747.ece

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