It is no more a battle of faith in Pathanamthitta

It is not the Sabarimala women’s entry issue or the recent local body elections that is to blame for the uncertainty gripping Pathanamthitta this election. Instead, it is the realisation that the upcoming election may do nothing to settle the twists and turns that the region’s political landscape has witnessed since 2016.

During the previous Assembly elections, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Left Democratic Front (LDF) have taken turns to win majority in the district. Accordingly, the LDF had won all but one of the five seats here during the 2016 Assembly elections. The coalition then made a clean sweep by winning the by-election in Konni. Discerning an overarching election trend solely based on these election outcomes, however, can be quiet misleading.

For instance, the UDF had a clear upper hand over the LDF in Pathanamthitta during the Parliament elections held two years ago. Barring the district panchayat where the LDF recorded a huge victory, the two coalitions stood neck and neck in the local body elections last year.

And for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) making significant gains over the years, the contest is indeed fascinating.

The LDF, emboldened by the entry of the Kerala Congress (M) to its fold, hopes for an encore of the 2016 results. The stellar performance that it staged to capture the district panchayat after a long gap has added to the coalition's confidence.

The UDF, on the other hand, looks to cut through the disenchantment of different groups towards the present State government, including the Hindu upper castes and the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church. There is, however, a feeling that the BJP has emerged as a formidable political threat in wooing the traditional vote banks, but the coalition hopes to overcome the same through systematic work.

A resurgent NDA, at the same time, counts on the sharp increase in its vote shares during the last Parliament elections to open its account in the district in at least one seat.

Of the five sitting legislators of LDF, Veena George, K.U. Jenish Kumar and Mathew T. Thomas have almost ensured their tickets, Raju Abraham, the CPI(M) legislator in Konni, is most likely to give way for a KC(M) candidate. The CPI, meanwhile, is yet to confirm whether it will persist with Chittayam Gopakumar in Adoor.

In the UDF, the Congress is slated to contest in four seats, while the Kerala Congress (M) led by P.J. Joseph may get the Thiruvalla seat. Meanwhile, the coalition appears to have grappled with some internal issues for the time being as an array of leaders have come up aspiring for a ticket.

The NDA list is likely to feature some major names, including BJP State president K. Surendran, who is likely to contest from Konni. It hopes to improve its performance in Adoor, which also comprises the Pandalam municipality, a local body that the coalition single-handedly won during the recent local body elections.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 12:08:36 AM |

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