Ernakulam | LDF’s surprise candidate takes on Congress in its citadel

Congress candidates had romped home 13 times against the seven of Left Democratic Front (LDF) in this constituency.

April 03, 2024 11:37 pm | Updated April 04, 2024 11:36 am IST - KOCHI

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Traditionally, pollsters consider Ernakulam Parliamentary constituency as a Congress citadel. The political history of the constituency since the formation of the State of Kerala would validate the theory as Congress candidates had romped home 13 times against the seven of Left Democratic Front (LDF).

The LDF posted its first victory in 1967 when CPI (M) leader V. Viswanatha Menon got elected from here. Later, it required the two LDF-backed independents, Xavier Arakkal, a former Congress legislator who parted ways with the party, and Sebastian Paul, to stop the Congress juggernaut. Incidentally, it was two decades ago in 2004 that Mr. Paul posted an electoral victory here.

The constituency also elected a father and a son to the Lower House. George Eden, the father of the incumbent Parliament member Hibi Eden, was elected to the lower house in 1998 and later in 1999. Junior Eden’s first foray into the parliament was in 2019 when he defeated P. Rajeeve of the CPI (M). He was the Ernakulam MLA when the party decided to field him in the Parliament election

Latin Catholic factor

Ernakulam has never been a Latin Catholic-majority constituency. Yet, the community seems to be the preferred one when it comes to deciding on the candidates. Barring Mr. Menon, all the elected members were from the community, which had a strong voter base in the constituency, especially in its coastal belt. Though not the single largest community, political fronts were always keen to pick their candidates from the community just to ensure their due representation in electoral politics.

Though the Congress had been largely successful in defending its political legacy in the constituency, the previous Assembly polls witnessed the UDF’s grip waning in a few Assembly constituencies that fall under the Parliament Constituency and the LDF making inroads to a few of them. While Paravur, Thripunithura, Ernakulam and Thrikkakara are represented by the Congress legislators, the LDF had won Kalamassery, Vypeen and Kochi constituencies.

The Congress camps in the constituency began their pre-poll preparations in earnest almost six months before the party formally announced the candidature of Mr. Eden, who had trounced Mr. Rajeeve by a mammoth margin of 1.69 lakh votes in the last election. The election saw 78.68% of the electorate exercising voting rights.

LDF’s surprise candidate

This time, the LDF came in with a surprise candidate, K. J. Shine, a lesser-known face in the constituency, Ms. Shine is a civic representative from North Paravur.

The BJP has fielded K.S. Radhakrishnan, a former Congress ideologue, who had earlier shifted his allegiance to the saffron camp. An uphill task awaits Professor Radhakrishnan as his predecessor Alphonse Kannanthanam, a Union Minister in the previous NDA government, had failed to impress the electorate and lost his security deposit.

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