district: Ernakulam Kerala

Non-political players likely to become game changers

With new players and socio-political factors that could influence the poll outcome emerging, the poll-scape of Ernakulam has become an interesting one to follow.

Besides Twenty20, V4Kochi, another non-political player, has made its presence felt in the Ernakulam Corporation area, spread over the Assembly constituencies of Ernakulam, Thrikkakara, Kochi and Thripunithura. The votes garnered by the formation had denied the Congress power in the Kochi Corporation.

Both the formations have made known their intentions to expand their political sphere beyond the local bodies where they consolidated their political positions, which could make or break the political fortunes of many a candidate.

Current standings

The 2016 hustings underscored the political assessment that the United Democratic Front may not have to worry much about Ernakulam as the front won nine out of the 14 seats from the district.

While the Congress has seven legislators, the Kerala Congress (Jacob) faction led by Anoop Jacob and the Indian Union Muslim League have one seat each. The CPI(M) has four and the CPI, one legislator.

Last time, the UDF’s Eldhose Kunnappilly wrested Perumbavoor from Saju Paul of the CPI(M) in the election where the rape and murder of a Dalit woman became the political talking point. Former Kochi Corporation councillor K.J. Maxy made his comrades proud by winning the Kochi seat and trouncing Congress strongman Dominic Presentation in the process.

M. Swaraj of the CPI(M), a native of Nilambur, came visiting Thripunithura to end the winning streak of former Minister K. Babu, who was embroiled in the controversies related to bar scam.

The just concluded local body polls saw Ernakulam mostly standing by the UDF. Statistics may favour the UDF in the Assembly polls.

Yet, the political reality is not all that rosy for the front in many constituencies, including Ernakulam, where it used to post impressive wins.

The UDF had swept all four Parliamentary constituencies of Ernakulam, Chalakudy, Idukki and Kottayam which come under the territorial jurisdiction of Ernakulam district in 2019. While the front lost the Kochi Corporation, which it wrested from the Left Democratic Front a decade ago, it put up a reasonably good show in the polls held a few months ago.

Close call for Cong.

The Ernakulam bypoll held in 2019 on a rainy day gave jitters to the Congress as T.J. Vinod had to struggle hard to get through.

His margin plummeted to 3,673 votes from the 21,494 posted by Mr. Eden, who vacated the seat after being elected to Parliament.

Flyover factor

The corruption case related to the construction of Palarivattom flyover, located in Thrikkakara Assembly constituency, is sure to worry the UDF as V.K. Ebrahim Kunju, the former Public Works Minister and the legislator from Kalamassery, was arrested in the case.

The controversy is sure to make its presence felt beyond the spans of the bridge, which is being reconstructed.

The continuing conflicts between the Orthodox and Jacobite Churches and the entry of the Kerala Congress faction led by Jose K. Mani to the LDF may prove decisive in the constituencies in the eastern belt of the district.

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Printable version | Apr 19, 2021 10:01:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/non-political-players-likely-to-become-game-changers/article34000677.ece

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