KOTTAYAM: The Left Democratic Front (LDF) has sent NCP leader Mani C. Kappan to take on K.M. Mani in Pala, and many think the former volleyball player will give a good fight. He had consistently been reducing the victory margin of the ‘patriarch of Pala’ since 2006, and he hopes to deliver the decisive smash this time as Mr Mani is embroiled in the bar scam. “I will win on many favourable factors including the discontent of farmers,” he told DC.
The fight has turned trilateral with the entry of Kerala Congress leader P.C. Thomas for NDA. However, loyalists of Mr Mani maintain the recent local body elections had vindicated him. Mr Mani’s capability to win over Congress votes amidst simmering discontent as in the civic polls will be crucial.
Mr Kappan hopes to rewrite pala’s electoral history. When Uzhavoor Vijayan contested against Mr Mani in 2001, his victory margin was 24, 500 votes. Mr Kappan reduced it to 7,500 in 2006 and 5,259 last time though his son Jose K. Mani had established a lead of 31,399 in this segment in the 2014 parliamentary elections against Mathew T. Thomas.
Mr Kappan was the captain of the Calicut University volleyball team in 1977, and later he joined the (KSEB) as a sports assistant with a monthly salary of Rs 1,000. In 1978, he shifted to the Abu Dhabi Sports Club with a monthly salary of Rs 60,000, a huge amount then. He played four years there before returning for good.
Back home, he began a real estate business in Pala and produced the blockbuster film, Meleparambil Aanveedu, directed Mannar Mathai Speaking and acted in some movies. He joined the Congress (Tiwari) in 1995 as its treasurer in Kerala and merged with Congress (S) and reached the NCP in 1999 after another