Shobana George claims stake to Chengannur seat

The Chengannur Assembly constituency, known as the trade and business hub of Central Travancore region apart from being the gateway to Sabarimala from this part of the State, is all set for an exciting poll battle; one that has begun even before all the candidates have been announced.

Only the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has announced its candidate here — former MP C.S. Sujatha of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), who is also the lone female face of the CPI(M) in the district in this elections. On the other side, the Congress is caught in a dilemma, with the district leadership recommending sitting MLA P.C. Vishnunath while former MLA Shobana George has staked a strong claim to the seat. The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had quite a strong presence here in the past, too is yet to announce its candidate.

Ms. George, who is back in politics after a long hiatus, had written letters to the district and party leadership, pointing out that she had represented Chengannur thrice consecutively, starting in 1991, then in 1996 and in 2001 too. This time, with the odds, however,

favouring Mr. Vishnunath, Ms. George has found support from the Malankara Orthodox Church, which has made it public that it was not happy with the representation given by the Congress to it in its list of candidates across the State.

While Church authorities voiced their protest on a television channel interview earlier this week, Ms. George is learnt to have met Church authorities on Sunday. Sources close to her have also hinted that if the Congress denies her a seat, she could turn a rebel and contest with the support of the Church.

Talking to The Hindu on Monday, Ms. George said she, however, was yet to take a decision and would wait till the Congress made a formal announcement.

“I have represented Chengannur for 15 years on the trot and had to move to Thiruvananthapuram West only because the party asked me to do so. But now, the people here say there is not much of development happening and they want me back,” she said.

Meanwhile, even as the political brouhaha within the Congress gathers steam, the people of Chengannur do not seem perturbed. They have

for long been with the Congress, electing Congress legislators in the last four elections, and with the recent civic body polls too reflecting their right-leaning stance. The Chengannur municipality and five of the nine grama panchayats went to the UDF. They have their complaints though, like lack of proper roads, a stadium that has been on paper for over a decade, absence of adequate facilities at the Chengannur railway station despite being a model railway station and a crucial Sabarimala pilgrimage transit centre are a few among their grievances.

If Ms. George decides to turn a rebel, Mr. Vishnunath will have his hands quite full. Ms. Sujatha, who won accolades including awards for her performance as the Mavelikara MP, is not an easy pushover and in fact, has the LDF hopeful of a victory as well. Whether the BJP can make an impact on the voters will be a factor looked forward too.

The BJP's performance in the 2006 polls was dismal, though. In a constituency where M.T. Ramesh could garner 12,598 votes, which was

13.32 per cent of votes in the 2001, M. Satish could get only 3,299 votes in 2006, which was a mere 3.78 per cent of the total votes polled then.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 11, 2021 12:08:48 PM |

Next Story