THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Caste is set to decide the outcome of the by-elections in at least three constituencies-V-attiyoorkavu, Konni and Aroor-- with the NSS openly siding with the UDF and the SNDP Yogam with the LDF. The UDF is sure of its candidate K. Mohan Kumar winning in Vattiyoorkavu while uncertainty prevails for it in Konni and Aroor. It hopes for a walkover in Ernakulam, but the battle is tough in Manjeswaram.
The Congress has marshalled all its resources to retain Vattiyoorkavu where senior leader A. K. Antony will conduct a road show on Friday, a day before the official campaign ends.
It may be recalled that caste equations had come to the fore in the Lok Sabha by-election in Thiruvananthapuram in 2005. Though the NSS supported V. S. Sivakumar of the Congress, Pannyan Raveendran of the CPI trounced him by 70, 000 votes. The NSS has been conducting a door-to-door campaign for Mohan Kumar and the SNDP Yogam for V. K. Prasanth of the LDF. S. Suresh of the BJP may be pushed to the third place, it is felt.
A KPCC general secretary told DC that Vattiyoorkavu with 40 percent Nair voters may favour the Congress as the NSS has cast its lot with it. But Konni has a majority of Ezhava voters followed by Nairs. The Orthodox community is against the Congress in both Konni and Aroor, he said.
"The BJP is putting up a tough fight only in Konni," said a Congress MLA.
Manjeswaram is witnessing a close fight between Muslim League's M. C. Kamarudheen and CPM's Sankar Rai.
A section of Muslim League leaders is unhappy with Kamarudheen and the Left candidate's claim of being a devotee may spoil the UDF's prospects....