Alappuzha: Alappuzha, the cradle of Communist movements, is back in the kitty of Left Democratic Front (LDF) after a decade. It comes at a time when Left parties have fought one of their toughest elections in the country.
It was in 2009 that Congress leader K.C. Venugopal wrested the seat from LDF and he retained it in 2014. However, the elections in 2019, will be etched in the Left party’s history in Alappuzha as it withstood the United Democratic Front (UDF) wave.
A.M. Ariff, the lone LDF wolf who survived the ballot battle, emerged victorious with a slender margin of 10,474 votes against nearest opponent Shanimol Usman of UDF.
He managed to secure at least 40.96 per cent (4,45,970) votes out of total 10,88,728 votes polled.
Usman, who was fielded in place of sitting member of the parliament Venugopal, conceded defeat by fetching 40 percent (4,35,496) votes. UDF suffered another blow since NDA managed to walk away with substantial 17 per cent (1,87,729) votes. The candidature K.S. Radhakrishnan, former PSC chairman and Vice-Chancellor of Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit seems to have eaten into the traditional Hindu votes that could possibly go to UDF kitty.
While NDA candidate A.V. Thamarakshan in 2014 got 43,051votes, Mr Radhakrishanan managed to get over triple the votes this time. Since LDF and UDF candidates came from minority community, the consolidation of minority votes unlike rest of the seats in the state, didn’t work in favour of the UDF as well.
In spite of anti-incumbency factor against Mr Venugopal and fishers in the party appeared to have played spoilsport to her fortunes. In 2014 Venugopal won the Alappuzha seat over LDF’s C.B. Chandrababu with a margin of 19,407 votes while in 2009 Venugopal wrested the seat from the sitting MP K.S. Manoj of the CPM by a thumping margin of 57,635 votes.
Alappuzha is always known as the mother of all constituencies in terms of spirited electoral battles between the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist). For a major part of the polling history here since 1957, however, it was Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) which tasted victory in the majority of LS polls
LDF, which conceded defeat last time, wrested the constituency with his “popular” image and hard hitting ground work. However, Shainimol Usman, an experienced leader from the Congress, failed to play another Venugopal in the constituency in galvanising booth level workers despite the Rahul Gandhi factor. However, retaining the seat will be tough task for LDF since the seat is never a bastion for any front.
In 2014, Venugopal secured margin of 19,407 votes when 9,97,464 votes were cast. Though Mr Venugopal won the seat twice, his winning margin was seen dwindling.
The history of the constituency says the senior Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran had made a strong pitch for the Congress in the Venice of the East ensuring one-sided victory for long. The people of Alappuzha gave him a clear mandate four times (1977, 1996, 1998, 1999) while Vakkom Purushothaman represented it in the parliament twice (1984, 1989).
Even though the Alappuzha is the land of Communist movement, the history of LS polls show that CPM failed to capitalise their supremacy in the parliamentary elections.
It could manage to win only thrice in the last 10 Lok Sabha polls before 2019. (2004: K. S. Manoj, 1991: T. J. Anjalose, 1980: Suseela Gopalan)...