Thiruvananthapuram

Something to cheer for all three fronts at Aruvikkara

In the Aruvikkara Assembly constituency, all the three fronts would be looking at the past election data for comfort, and even confidence, for there is something here for everyone to draw positives from. The United Democratic Front (UDF) has swept the Assembly elections in the past three decades here, while the recent local body elections witnessed the Left Democratic Front (LDF) winning in all panchayats except one.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has derived much confidence from the massive 17.59% increase in its vote share during the 2015 byelections, due to O. Rajagopal’s candidature, although some of it was lost in the subsequent elections.

The Aruvikkara constituency in its current form came into existence following the delimitation of 2008, with much of it carved out from the previous Aryanad constituency and some parts from the Nedumangad constituency.

The constituency currently includes the panchayats of Aruvikkara, Aryanad, Tholikkode, Vithura, Kuttichal, Poovachal, Vellanad, and Uzhamalakkal.

First win for CPI

In the first elections in the erstwhile Aryanad constituency in 1957, R. Balakrishna Pillai of the Communist Party of India (CPI) tasted victory.

The Praja Socialist Party (PSP) and its splinter group Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP) won thrice in the next four elections, with Congress having one win in 1965.

From 1977 until 1991, the constituency remained the fiefdom of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).

Karthikeyan’s victory

The voting pattern witnessed a sharp turnaround in 1991, when Congress leader G. Karthikeyan defeated RSP’s sitting MLA K. Pankajakshan, who had behind him a hat-trick of wins.

Karthikeyan would never lose from here again, winning four more times, including in 2011, when the new Aruvikkara constituency was formed. When he passed away in 2015, his son K.S. Sabarinadhan took up the mantle, winning the byelection by a margin of more than 10,000 votes and the Assembly elections next year by more than 20,000 votes.

The constituency favoured the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections too, with Adoor Prakash, who won from Attingal, securing 58,952 votes from here, compared to CPI(M)’s A. Sampath’s 50,403 and BJP’s Shobha Surendran’s 30,151.

However in the local body elections in December, the LDF swept seven of the eight panchayats in the constituency.

Till 2011, when it secured just around 6% votes, the BJP was a fringe player here, but in the 2015 byelections, it increased its vote share to 24.2%, which fell to 14.12% in the 2016 Assembly elections. Its performance in the local body elections has also been below par.

Many Adivasis

With a considerable population of Adivasis in the higher ranges, the constituency also has a large percentage of working class population, dependent on agriculture, rubber tapping and small-scale trading.

The bread and butter issues which have had an impact on this largely rural economy could have a say in these elections.

As per the voters’ list published by the State Election Commission on January 20, Aruvikkara has 1,89,862 voters — 1,00,061 women, 89,800 men, and one transgender.

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Printable version | Apr 20, 2021 5:01:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/something-to-cheer-for-all-three-fronts-at-aruvikkara/article33992539.ece

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