Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

No easy choice in Kanjirappally

The Kanjirappally constituency, mostly carved out of the remnants of the erstwhile Vazhoor segment post-delimitation, is bracing for a close, three-cornered fight with no single candidate standing out as a clear favourite.

While it was the United Democratic Front that won in the previous Assembly elections, sitting legislator N. Jayaraj, a Kerala Congress (M) leader, now seeks re-election as a candidate of the Left Democratic Front (LDF). Adding to this heady flow of adventurous political undercurrents is the high-intensity campaign by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which commands a significant presence here.

Keen on affirming its dominance over the seat, the UDF has brought in former legislator and senior Congress leader Joseph Vazhakkan. Not to be left behind, the NDA too has opted for a BJP heavyweight — former Union Minister K.J. Alphons, who had represented the old Kanjirappally seat as an LDF Independent for five years from 2006.

Areas in focus

Mr. Jayaraj, a three-time legislator, has been representing Kanjirappally since 2011. Apart from the development projects implemented during his reign, the sitting MLA is also betting heavily on the stellar performance of the LDF during the recent local body elections.

For the UDF, however, retaining Kanjirappally is more a matter of prestige as it seeks to give a fitting reply to the KC(M), which recently crossed over to the rival group. It hopes to highlight the anti-incumbency factor against the LDF government, the ‘inability’ of the sitting MLA to bring in major development projects, and the Sabarimala issue to gain votes.

The NDA too is focussing on the development of the region as the key poll plank and calculates on the presence of Mr. Alphons, who is regarded as an able administrator, to help woo Christian votes. The coalition made significant inroads into the segment during the Sabarimala protests and counts on maintaining its dominance among the Hindu upper castes.

Scene in local bodies

The constituency is spread over the taluks of Kanjirappally, Changanassery, and Kottayam. Of the nine local bodies in the segment, which forms part of the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency, seven are ruled by the Left coalition while one each by the UDF and the NDA. During the recent local body elections, the LDF won from 77 wards and the UDF, in 35 wards. The NDA had its representatives elected from 20 wards across the region.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:11:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/no-easy-choice-in-kanjirappally/article34125899.ece

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