Barring strongholds, it’s a see-saw battle in most seats

LDF and UDF are principal rivals but NDA may act as spoiler in many places

April 04, 2021 12:19 am | Updated 12:58 am IST - Kozhikode

Election battles in the six northern districts are as adrenaline-fuelled as in other parts of the State, but no other region perhaps has as many constituencies witnessing run-of-the-mill electioneering as these.

It cannot be otherwise as political allegiance generally matters in the region. While the Left Democratic Front and the United Democratic Front are principal rivals, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance is feared to serve as spoilers in many places.

Barring the strongholds of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian Union Muslim League, most of the constituencies in this region are up for grabs.

In 2016, the then ruling UDF took a beating winning only 23 of the 60 seats in the region. The BJP hopes to spring a surprise in Palakkad and Manjeswaram, two of the four seats where it stood second in 2016, the others being Kasaragod and Malampuzha. Candidature of technocrat E. Sreedharan and BJP State chief K. Surendran has turned the poll in Palakkad and Manjeswaram into a fierce three-cornered battle.

No smooth sail

It is not easy sail for the Congress’ young incumbents Shafi Parambil and V.T. Balram in Palakkad and Thrithala respectively, two hotspots in Palakkad district. The LDF is also facing an uphill battle in its strongholds such as Shoranur, Ottappalam, Malampuzha, Tharoor, Nemmara, and Alathur.

The BJP may eat into the UDF-LDF vote base in the district where the LDF won nine and UDF three seats in 2016. The party though is a minor player in three of the five constituencies in Kasaragod. Thrikkarippur, Kanhangad and Uduma are traditionally LDF strong turfs. Manjeswaram is the cynosure for poll watchers. Consolidation of anti-BJP votes supposedly worked against Mr. Surendran in 2016 when he lost the seat by a wafer-thin margin.

CM in the fray

In Kannur, election outcomes have always been on predicted lines in at least six constituencies, all CPI(M) citadels, including Dharmadom and Mattannur where Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Health Minister K.K. Shylaja respectively are contesting. In the remaining five seats, both the UDF and LDF are fighting a hard battle.

The LDF hopes to cash in on local discontent in the district Congress in Irikkur and Peravur and on charges of amassing disproportionate assets against IUML incumbent K.M. Shaji in Azhikode.

It is a tight contest in majority of the 13 constituencies in Kozhikode. In Kozhikode North, which was wrested by the CPI(M) from the Congress in 2006, the LDF has a real battle on hand to retain it as CPI(M)’s septuagenarian nominee Thottathil Raveendran is pitted against 26-year-old K.M. Abijith, Kerala Students Union State president.

The presence of BJP State general secretary M.T. Ramesh has made the battle a triangular contest.

IUML’s woman nominee

Both the fronts go all out in Kozhikode South, the IUML’s sitting seat where the party has fielded a woman candidate – Noorbina Rasheed – after 25 years and in Vadakara where K.K. Rema, widow of slain Revolutionary Marxist Party leader T.P. Chandrasekharan, is contesting as UDF-backed candidate.

Koduvally, where IUML’s M.K. Muneer is contesting, and Kunnamangalam are witnessing close race with the UDF pulling out all the stops to wrest them back from the LDF.

It will be nothing less than a miracle if the LDF can breach the IUML bastions in Malappuram having 16 constituencies. Like Kunnamangalam and Koduvally in Kozhikode, Nilambur, Tanur, and Thavanur in Malappuram are success stories of the LDF’s poll strategy of fielding dissidents from the rival parties, some of whom have deep pockets.


Prospects are uncertain for both the LDF and the UDF in these constituencies as also in Perinthalmanna, Kondotty and Wandoor where the LDF pursues the same strategy.

None of the three constituencies in Wayanad is a piece of cake for the LDF and UDF candidates. In Sulthan Bathery, the LDF has fielded dissident Congress leader and former Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee secretary M.S. Viswanathan to take on incumbent I.C. Balakrishnan of the Congress. Former Minister in Oommen Chandy Cabinet P.K. Jayalakshmi and Loktantrik Janata Dal leader M.V. Shreyams Kumar, now in the LDF, are contesting in Manathavady and Kalpetta respectively. Both lost in 2016 in the same seats.

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