Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

IT land hosts a fierce fight

With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finally ending the suspense over its candidate in Kazhakuttam, the battle lines are clear in the State Assembly constituency best known as the home of IT hub Technopark.

The LDF candidate, Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, and his UDF rival, the public health expert S. S. Lal, are several days into their campaigns. Sobha Surendran, whose candidature was declared by the BJP on March 17, is a late entrant on the scene. Nonetheless, Ms. Surendran’s presence adds intriguing dimensions to the fight for the constituency where the BJP had stood second in 2016.

Mr. Surendran is seeking a second consecutive term from Kazhakuttam, having won in 2016 by over 7,300 votes. The Congress’s choice of Mr. Lal did not sit well with a section in the party, but the leadership calculates that his record as an globally known public health expert would carry the day for the front.

The BJP draws confidence from the 2016 verdict when V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs, had finished second behind Mr. Surendran. That year, Congress’s M. A. Vahid, who had won in 2001, 2006 and 2011, was pushed to third spot.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s O. Rajagopal had led in the Kazhakuttam Assembly segment. Kazhakuttam favoured Shashi Tharoor of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. But senior BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan had finished a close second while the LDF’s C. Divakaran trailed third.

A fast-evolving satellite township of the State capital, the Kazhakuttam segment boasts 18 wards of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation. Its growth as one of India’s largest IT hubs, employing approximately 65,000 people, has also influenced the political dynamics of the region.

First in 1965

The constituency first saw electoral battle in 1965, when N. Lakshmanan of the Congress defeated K.P. Alikunju of the CPI(M). It was from Kazhakuttam that A.K. Antony successfully fought the by-election in October 1977. Thalekkunnil Basheer had stepped down as MLA so that Mr. Antony, the Congress’s choice of Chief Minister after K. Karunakaran resigned, could contest.

In the 1987 Assembly polls, Kazhakuttam elected Nabeesa Ummal, the Left-backed Independent, as its representative.

In the 1991 elections, it was Communist Marxist Party (CMP) leader M.V. Raghavan’s turn to represent the constituency.

Hat-trick for Vahid

Mr. Surendran regained the seat for the LDF in 1996. M.A. Vahid won the next three elections. In 2001, he won as a UDF ‘rebel,’ defeating Bindu Ummar of the CPI(M). Mr. Vahid repeated the feat as the official Congress candidate in 2006 and 2011. The constituency fell once again to the LDF in 2016, with Mr. Surendran scripting victory.

This summer, the LDF has a tough fight on its hands with the BJP planning to go that extra mile. The Sabarimala issue is sure to find top billing in the campaigns, especially since Mr. Surendran also holds the Devaswom portfolio. His recent remark that the incident had saddened everyone had drawn flak from both the UDF and the BJP. The UDF too hopes to catch the other two fronts off-guard by springing a few surprises of its own.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 18, 2021 8:53:33 PM |

In This Series
Close contest on the cards in Chirayinkeezhu
Kerala Assembly elections | Development, drinking water make it a do-or-die battle for the Attingal seat
It’s quite a prestige issue to win Wadakkanchery
Kerala Assembly Elections | Triangular contest in Muvattupuzha
Kerala Assembly Elections | Perumbavoor gears up for a tough poll battle
Kerala Assembly polls | Line-up, campaign themes hog the limelight
Kerala Assembly polls | Fronts tread Pathanamthitta terrain with care
Kerala Assembly Elections | From IT infra to protection of faith, Kazhakuttam covers all
Kerala Assembly Elections | ‘Deal’ allegation hangs over Chengannur electioneering
Kerala Assembly Elections | Former allies in a pulsating face-off in Kaduthuruthy
Kerala Assembly Elections | ‘Loyalty’ factor may come into play in Idukki
Kerala Assembly Elections | A three-way, neck-and-neck tussle in Thrissur
Kerala Assembly Elections | A secure red fortress shows signs of faltering
LDF senses a chance for victory in Kalamassery
Interesting poll battle in Perambra
Battle of prestige in Kunnamangalam
Not a cakewalk for the prime contenders
You are reading
IT land hosts a fierce fight
No easy choice in Kanjirappally
Catapulted to the spotlight by a candidate
A straight fight on the cards in Angamaly
No favourites for the nascent seat
Battle for Koduvally hots up
Kerala Assembly Elections | Congress banks yet again on Satheesan in Paravur
Battle of images in Thripunithura
No surprise candidates in Cong. list for Ernakulam
Church row a key factor in Kothamangalam
Battle lines drawn in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta
No political front is expecting a cakewalk this time
LDF seeks to cash in on UDF woes
Kerala Assembly polls | Tightrope walk for the Congress
Kerala Assembly Elections | Infighting, factional feud, personality politics plague Congress, CPI(M) and BJP
A ‘red fort’ that shows chances of colour change
Discontent in IUML against Majeed in Tirurangadi
Fronts swear by development plans to woo voters
Kerala Assembly Elections | A Left citadel that has favoured Congress too
LDF, UDF hopeful in Neyyattinkara, cautious too
Veteran and newcomer in fight for coastal seat
It’s Mani legacy vs Mani namesake in Pala
Kozhikode South: no unwavering loyalty here
In Azhikode, there’s always room for surprise
Parties hope to sway voters with development plank
Clear picture on Vadakara candidates yet to emerge
An impenetrable fortress of the Left so far
Shifting loyalties leave parties confused
In traditional LDF bastion, UDF hopes to break ground
LDF, UDF tussle for Cherthala as NDA keeps hopes
Parassala constituency: an oscillating segment
An even game in Perumbavoor
Rahul’s base Wayanad a status symbol for UDF
Nadapuram voters may have a déjà vu
A few challenges for the Left in its bastion
Kovalam has no extreme loyalty
Kunnathur has mostly leaned towards the Left
Wadakkanchery, a prestige issue for fronts
Rubber heartland presents a hotbed of possibilities
Attingal - a Left citadel with laurels equally shared
In Ernakulam, a test of political theories
A UDF bastion that went the LDF way last time
Vallikkunnu, an IUML bastion by default
Will the CPI(M) continue its winning streak in Koyilandy?
When Kuttiyadi constituency witnessed a break from the past
Equations could see a change in Kasaragod
In Thiruvambady, small margins are the big concern
When UDF lost its upper hand in Mananthavady
Vadakara, a socialist bastion with Marxist vote base
Aluva remains a traditional Congress citadel
Kondotty, an IUML fortress that is hard to breach
Shifting loyalties with a tilt towards Congress
Twists and turns of Alappuzha’s poll graph
In Muvattupuzha, unpredictable shifts in voting patterns
Where polls are special for many reasons
Next Story