Alappuzha: A race of seasoned horses

On Thursday, he began his campaign in Kuttanad and ended in Pathana puram.

Alappuzha: Chittayam Gopakumar of the LDF is posing a serious challenge to UDF candidate Kodukunnil Suresh in his bid to achieve a hat -trick in the Mavelikara (SC) constituency. The CPI picked up popular MLA Mr Gopakumar to take on Mr Suresh after fielding Chengara Surendran unsuccessfully twice against Mr Suresh. Mr Gopakumar has lived up to the expectations of the LDF and is toiling hard to achieve a surprise win.

In the last two Lok Sabha elections in 2009 and 2014, Suresh had defeated Chengara Surendran, who had won twice in 1999 and 2004 against the Congress.

Mr Gopakumar, who has completed the second round of campaigning, began his road show at Mannar on Thursday evening after receptions at Neelamperoor, Kuttanad, in the morning. During the 1.5-km-long journey, people stood on both sides of the road to welcome him.

At Neelamperoor junction, he made a brief speech: “I have been calling on thousands of people, and realised their hatred towards the Modi government. I want your support.”

Mr Suresh, who entered the campaign trail late, is banking on his work and popularity in the constituency. He knows the voters and the geographical significance of the constituency which is spread over Kottayam, Kollam and Alappuzha districts.

On Thursday, he began his campaign in Kuttanad and ended in Pathana puram. He was received by scores of khadi-clad supporters raising slogans. The soft- spoken Suresh listed the development projects that he had initiated, though the Kuttanad package had fallen flat.

His former campaign committee convener Aby Kuriakose says that rather than local issues, the UDF is focussing on the anti-people and fascist policies of Modi government. The mismanagement of the floods and Sabarimala issue are also topics of debate. Suresh had launched many railway development projects.

A major deciding factor will be caste. The headquarters of Nair Service Society is located in the constituency and it may have an impact on the fortunes of the candidates. Scheduled Castes and Viswakarma community votes are also significant.

NDA candidate Thazhava Sahadevan of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena has been campaigning hard to secure as many votes as possible. There are 13,07,801 voters in the constituency this time.

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