VADAKARA: Life is still an ordeal for the Marxist rebels in this constituency. Rich with tales of anti-British uprisings and revolutionary zeal, the people of Vadakara had ensured mostly pro-Left victories in Assembly and Lok Sabha contests. But the trend changed as Congress started winning back to back in LS polls since 2009.
This time RMP candidate, Ms K K Rema, widow of the martyred Marxist, T P Chandrasekharan, is the cynosure. Is she fighting to win or make a point against the Big B’s cult of violence? Ms Rema says she is a small fry, fighting the big coalitions of the LDF and UDF and other contenders such as NDA and SDPI.
“My fight will go on. Out of the 1.55 lakh voters, 88,000 are women. They appreciate the politics that I espouse. Women also expressed their helplessness in openly supporting me because their men insist on a open vote at the booths”, says Ms Rema
RMP State general secretary N Venu says there 139 booths and each booth sees at least 100 to 150 open votes. “This is how the secrecy of the ballot is profaned. In no other place in Kerala does a memorial have police protection. TP’s bust was vandalized four times. Now, to prevent further assault, the police is on 24X7 vigil. Such is the vendetta the CPM holds against us. They don’t even let the dead to lie in peace”.
Ms Rema is locked in a four-cornered contest, though there are 11 candidates on the rolls. She has three namesakes also on the ballot paper. The RMP campaign is on the lack of development in the constituency, the politics of violence and the Congress-isation of the CPM.
Sitting MLA, Mr C K Nanoo (JDS), is ever the humble self. “I have a counter to what RMP says. But I do not want to pick up a quarrel with them. They pursue a brand of politics. My fight is against the UDF,” said Mr Nanoo. In 2011, Mr Nanoo (JDS) had scraped through with a vote share of 41.05 percent against rival M K Premnath (SJD). But the vote was scattered among Mr N Venu, the Marxist rebel and the BJP candidate.
Mr Premnath had won the seat with a comfortable 54.60 votes in 2006. Mr Nanoo’s debut was in 1996 when he polled close to 60 percent votes and the feat was repeated in the next election, winning more than 50 percent vote.
Taking on Mr Nanoo is Mr Manayathu Chandran of JDU.
“I have absolute confidence that UDF’s development agenda will win hands down”, she said. But, like in any other constituency, undercurrents will determine the winner. It is no secret that Mr Chandran was in sulks and not active in mustering votes for his colleague, Mr Premnath, in 2011. Would this work to Mr Chandran’s disadvantage this time? Mr Nanoo says he is least interested in benefits on account of rivalry in the opposite camp.