Kerala

Six Assembly seats up for grabs

With byelections due in six Assembly constituencies in the State, a major challenge awaits the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Four seats have fallen vacant with legislators K. Muraleedharan (Vattiyoorkavu), Adoor Prakash (Konni), A.M. Ariff (Aroor) and Hibi Eden (Ernakulam) getting elected to the 17th Lok Sabha. Byelections will have to be held at Manjeswaram in Kasaragod district following the death of sitting legislators P.B. Abdul Razak (Indian Union Muslim League) and K.M. Mani (Kerala Congress-M) at Pala in Kottayam district.

The Manjeswaram and Pala seats are already vacant and the other four too will fall vacant once the sitting legislators tender their resignation. The EC will then have to complete the byelection by November to fulfil the constitutional obligation.

With the UDF making inroads into 123 Assembly constituencies in the just-held Lok Sabha poll, the byelections will be a litmus test for the three fronts. Of the four MLAs elected to the Lok Sabha, three are from the UDF. The LDF, which could emerge on top in only 16 Assembly constituencies, will be trying to settle the scores in the bypolls. The BJP, which failed to open its account to the Lok Sabha from the State again despite an increase in its vote share, will be using the byelections to increase its tally in the Assembly from the present one.

Centre stage

Among the six seats, Vattiyoorkavu will be in the centre stage as Mr. Muraleedharan had defeated BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan in the 2016 Assembly election and pushed LDF’s T. N. Seema [CPI(M)] to the third place.

Pala will also be in focus due to the internal squabbles in the KC(M) for control of the party after the death of Mani. In Konni and Ernakulam, the UDF will have to find a suitable local candidate from the Congress to retain the prestigious seats.

A challenge

For the LDF, the byelection in Aroor will be a challenge as the UDF will pull out all tricks to overcome the defeat of Shanimol Usman in the Lok Sabha poll. Mr. Ariff had won the elections to the Assembly by 38,519 votes.

The byelection in Manjewaram will be a big test for the IUML and the UDF as the BJP’s K. Surendran had come second in the 2016 election.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 2:27:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/six-assembly-seats-up-for-grabs/article27238088.ece

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