Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Equations could see a change in Kasaragod

In Kasaragod district, the key question this Assembly election is whether there will be a distinct departure from the familiar terrain. In the past elections, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) had consistently won from the Thrikkarippur, Uduma, and Kanhangad seats while the United Democratic Front (UDF) dominated in Kasaragod and Manjeswaram.

However, in 2016, Manjeswaram witnessed a close battle between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the UDF, with the latter scraping through by 89 votes. The BJP was not exactly a novice in Manjeswaram.

The party began to make its presence felt in the constituency in 1987 when its candidate H. Shankara Alva finished runner-up to Indian Union Muslim League’s (IUML) Cherkalam Abdullah, who won by 6,746 votes. Since, then the party has made considerable inroads into the segment, as was evident in the nail-biting contest of 2016 between P.B. Abdul Razak of the IUML and K. Surendran, now BJP State president.

This time, the BJP will be hoping to cash in on the investment scam charge against IUML’s sitting MLA M.C. Kamaruddin (who won in a bypoll following Mr. Razak’s death) and investigations into the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case, in which the present LDF government is embroiled, to bolster its prospects in Manjeswaram.

Left’s expectation

The LDF, on its part, is confident of repeating its good performance in the local body elections. It won 376 of 877 wards across the three-tier panchayats and municipalities in the district — 25 more than its tally in 2015. The front has won all the elections in Uduma and Thrikkarippur since 1974 and in Kanhangad since 2011. The ruling front will be projecting the ₹2,289-crore development works executed in the five constituencies in past five years.

The UDF hopes to pose a strong challenge to the LDF and the BJP by highlighting corruption charges and the ‘anti-people and anti-farmer policies’ of the State and Union governments. The front’s hope of retaining its strongholds of Kasaragod and Manjeswaram has been given a fillip by its victory in the Periye-Pullur panchayat in the local body election.

Periye case

The UDF believes that outrage among the local people at the murder of two Youth Congress workers at Periye in 2019 will work in its favour in Uduma. In 2016, the UDF candidate, K. Sudhakaran of the Congress, increased the front’s vote share in Uduma to 41.55% from 39% in the previous poll. The LDF vote share had dipped to 43.99% from 48%, kindling UDF’s hopes further.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 10:45:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/equations-could-see-a-change-in-kasaragod/article34008085.ece

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