Alathur | A constituency where farmers call the shots

Spread in Palakkad and Thrissur districts, Alathur was made out of Ottapalam Lok Sabha constituency, which had elected former President K.R. Narayanan in 1984, 1989 and 1991.

Updated - April 11, 2024 02:51 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2024 11:21 pm IST

Alathur gained attention well before the final markings of the electoral battle owing to the early arrival of Minister for Welfare of SC/ST and Backward Classes K. Radhakrishnan. Being the only State Minister in fray in the State, Mr. Radhakrishnan is posing a threat to United Democratic Front (UDF)’s sitting MP Ramya Haridas, who is seeking a second term from this reserved constituency.

Alathur Lok Sabha constituency came into being with the delimitation of 2008. Spread in Palakkad and Thrissur districts, Alathur was made out Ottapalam Lok Sabha constituency, which had elected former President K.R. Narayanan in 1984, 1989 and 1991. With the disappearance of Ottapalam constituency, Assembly segments such as Chelakkara, Kunnamkulam and Wadakkanchery from Thrissur district became part of the newly formed Alathur. Besides, Tarur, Chittur, Nenmara and Alathur Assembly segments in Palakkad too became part of this SC Lok Sabha constituency. Among the seven Assembly segments, Tarur and Chelakkara are SC reserved constituencies. Mr. Radhakrishnan was elected to the Assembly from Chelakkara in 2021.

In the three elections held since 2009, Left Democratic Front (LDF)’s P.K. Biju was elected two times (2009 and 2014). Mr. Biju’s defeat in 2019 at the hands of Ms. Haridas was considered one of the worst debacles the LDF suffered in that election. Riding on a wave of song and dance that she created, Ms. Haridas was elected by a margin of 1.589 lakh votes.

If it was the anti-incumbency factor that worked against Mr. Biju in 2019, the same factor can work against Ms. Haridas too, the LDF believes. Another factor that strengthens the LDF confidence in this agrarian constituency is that all the seven Assembly constituents are in the LDF hands.

Tarur, Nenmara, Alathur and Chittur, the four Assembly segments in Palakkad district, are heavily farmer oriented. The perceptions of the farmers towards the ruling governments at the Centre and State alike are likely to influence their voting in Alathur.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has fielded T.N. Sarasu, former principal of Government Victoria College, Palakkad, who raised the issue of Karuvannur Service Cooperative Bank during a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after she started her campaign in Alathur. Although Ms. Sarasu did not mention any bank in particular, the cooperative bank fraud in question was obviously Karuvannur, managed by the CPI(M) leaders.

In the last three elections, the BJP or its allied candidate did not garner more than 10% per cent votes in Alathur. The constituency has more than 13 lakh voters. The Election Commission is yet to release the final figure of the electorate.

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