district: kozhikode Kerala

Kozhikode has a reputation of unpredictability

Elections in Kozhikode district have taken abrupt U-turns every now and then. This unpredictability was glaringly evident in the previous Assembly and Lok Sabha polls as well.

If the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) won both the parliamentary seats, Kozhikode and Vadakara, in 2009, 2014, and 2019, it was the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M]- led Left Democratic Front that walked away with most of the district’s 13 Assembly seats in the 2011 and 2016 Assembly elections.

Incidentally, the last time a Congress nominee won from Kozhikode was nearly two decades ago. The party won two seats in the 2001 Assembly polls. However, its partner in the UDF, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), has had legislators in the district.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has never been a significant electoral player here. But the front is aggressively making inroads especially into the urban and semi-urban segments of Kozhikode North, Kozhikode South, Beypore, Kunnamangalam, and Elathur.

In the recent three-tier local body election, the LDF gained an upper-hand winning in 10 segments, leaving the UDF far behind with three. The BJP could increase its vote share in Kozhikode Corporation.

The induction of the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD), the Indian National League (INL) and the Jose K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) into its fold has been advantageous to the Left front. But the realignment of political forces has left its existing partner, the Janata Dal (Secular), without a seat in the district. This factor will certainly impact the coalition in Vadakara, though its new allies will help improve the front’s prospects in the hill regions of Perambra, Kuttiyadi, and Thiruvambadi. Also the CPI(M) is deftly wooing disgruntled elements of the IUML by fielding incumbent legislators P.T.A. Rahim and Karat Razak from Kunnamangalam and Koduvally, both segments that handsomely rewarded the UDF in the Lok Sabha polls.

This time the UDF combine is determined to win at least seven seats from the district. The front hopes to emerge victorious from Kozhikode North with the possible exit of popular CPI(M) legislator A. Pradeepkumar and bounce back in the Koyilandy, Kunnamangalam and Koduvally constituencies. Plans to support the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) nominee at Vadakara are afoot but the Congress remains indecisive about the electoral battle in this segment held by the socialist parties for a long. Beypore, where the CPI(M) has been maintaining a winning streak since 1987, could witness as tri-cornered contest as in Kozhikode North and Kozhikode South.

Yet what worries the Congress is the emergence of the BJP which secured 22.82% of the total votes in the Kozhikode Corporation polls. The UDF polled 31.79% and the LDF, 44.06 % in the December 2020 civic body polls.

Already the party leadership, led by K. Muraleedharan and M.K. Raghavan, both MPs, has kick-started the election campaign with issues that currently dominate the political scenario. The poll outcome will largely depend on whether the main adversaries can dominate the tightly contested seats.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 12:34:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/kozhikode-has-a-reputation-of-unpredictability/article34014562.ece

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