Kerala Assembly elections 2021: Constituency Watch

Veteran and newcomer in fight for coastal seat

A former Minister pitted against a first-timer — Chavara is all set to witness an interesting electoral battle between Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) stalwart Shibu Baby John and Sujith Vijayan, LDF Independent and the son of the late MLA N. Vijayan Pillai.

In nine out of the 10 Assembly polls since the formation of the constituency in 1977, Chavara has stood with the RSP and it is no secret that the party enjoys a massive vote base there. But in 2016, the segment threw in a surprise when Communist Marxist Party (CMP) candidate and Left Democratic Front ally N. Vijayan Pillai defeated Mr. John by a margin of 6,189 votes in the RSP stronghold.

The Chavara segment covers seven divisions of the Kollam Corporation (Maruthadi, Sakthikulangara, Meenathuchery, Kavanad, Vallikeezhu, Alattukavu and Kannimel) and five grama panchayats (Chavara, Neendakara, Panmana, Thekkumbhagom and Thevalakkara).

Baby John, one of the founders and formidable leaders of the RSP, had represented the constituency six times and his son, Mr. John, was elected from Chavara in 2001 and 2011. After Baby John’s death, Mr. John formed the RSP(B) and contested the election as a coalition partner of the United Democratic Front (UDF) in 2001. He defeated RSP’s V.P. Ramakrishna Pillai by a margin of 12,483 votes, but in 2006, he lost to RSP leader and current Kollam MP N.K. Premachandran.

Past results

In 2011, the tables were turned and Mr. John won the electoral battle defeating Mr. Premachandran. Later, the RSP(B) merged with its parent party and Mr. John once again entered the fray as UDF candidate in 2016. Though everything seemed to be in favour of him, Mr. John received the biggest setback of his political career when Vijyan Pillai clinched the victory.

Vijayan Pillai, who started off as an RSP worker, had later joined the Congress and then the CMP. He had served as a local body member for over 20 years and was quite acquainted with workers of both fronts. After he won the 2016 election as an LDF Independent candidate, the pro-LDF faction of the CMP merged with the CPI(M).

Flanked by the Arabian sea and Ashtamudi Lake on two sides, the constituency has a considerable population of fishers. Mr. John has been a constant presence in all protests organised by the UDF against the alleged deep-sea fishing contract and the front is expected to turn the issue into a major poll plank. While the RSP will leave no stone unturned to recapture its citadel, the LDF camp seems equally determined to retain it.

The National Democratic Alliance, which fielded M. Sunil of the BJP during the last Assembly polls, is yet to announce its candidate.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 11:24:19 AM |

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