Kerala

Idukki, a test of endurance too

Its challenging topography will offer a sterner test for candidates

Election campaigns of Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate Joice George and United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate Dean Kuriakose have gained momentum in the Idukki Lok Sabha constituency.

While Mr. George had completed a round of campaigning, Mr. Kuriakose is personally meeting the voters.

One of the largest constituencies spread over Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, and Ernakulam districts, it has shrunk to Idukki and Ernakulam post-delimitation.

Spread in 2 districts

The Lok Sabha constituency comprises the five Assembly constituencies of Thodupuzha, Devikulam, Idukki, Udumbanchola, and Peerumade in Idukki district and the Kothamangalam and Muvattupuzha constituencies in Ernakulam.

In the 2014 elections, when Mr. George defeated Mr.Kuriakose, the Western Ghats panel report was the main poll issue. It has now given way to the crisis in the farm sector.

In the last elections, the LDF gained in Kothamangalam, Muvattupuzha, Peerumade, Udumbanchola and Devikulam, while Thodupuzha and Idukki stood with the UDF. With the National Democratic Front (NDA) also announcing its candidate, it is a close contest in the constituency.

The topography of the constituency is a major challenge for the candidates. It is tough on the candidates to move in a constituency spread over low and high ranges.

According to an election manager of the LDF candidate, reaching all corners of the constituency is not easy. Proper planning is needed to cover many tribal settlements inside the forests that do not have motorable roads.

With the advent of summer, it will be hard work for the candidates and the team accompanying them.

Moreover, in the remote plantation areas with damaged roads, it will be a tough job to personally meet the voters.

The minimum travelling time from Peruvanthanam on the border with Kottayam to Kanthallur on the eastern side of Idukki is six hours.

“It is not an easy job as one considers the travelling time from Thodupuzha to the State capital, covering three districts, is only five hours,” says a UDF campaign leader.

Remote settlements

The main two remote villages are Vattavada, about 40 km from Munnar, and Edamalakudy, the only tribal grama panchayat in the State, inside the Munnar forest division.

One has to walk nearly 18 km to reach Edamalakudy, needing two days for a to and fro journey. The Chakkimaly tribal settlement can be reached only by boat journey through the Idukki reservoir.

There are 320 tribal settlements in the constituency and most of them are in remote forest areas without roads.

There are 11,78,099 voters in the constituency. Compared with the last elections, there are 38,435 more voters this time.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 7:59:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/idukki-a-test-of-endurance-too/article26593857.ece

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