LDF may not have a walkover in Kayamkulam

Newcomer Prathibha Hari takes on M. Liju.

Alappuzha: It is a tight fight between the LDF and the UDF in Kayakamulam this time with newcomer Pratibha Hari of the LDF taking on M. Liju of the Youth Congress. The CPM had selected Pratibha Hari in place of sitting MLA C.K. Sadasivan after much manoeuvring. Pratibha is a former Alappuzha district panchayat president with a popular image, while Liju had lost to to CPM’s G. Sudhakaran in Amablappuzha in 2011 for a big margin of 16,580. Shaji M. Panicker of BDJS is also testing his strength.

Last time, the LDF retained Kayamkulam by a margin of 1,315 votes, down from the 5,832 margin it had in 2006. Liju hopes to cash in on the cracks among the CPM cadres over the candidate selection. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the LDF had strengthened its position with a margin of 3,286 votes over the UDF in the constituency.

Both the LDF and UDF contestants are from outside the constituency and they do not have much family connections. While Liju belongs to Haripad, Pratibha is from Thakazhi, Kuttanad. They have been focusing on door-to-door campaigns, attending marriage functions, going to cashew factories and town-centric business centres. For Liju, this is a prestige fight because he is yet to prove his ‘ballot mettle.’

Shaji M. Panicker, retired official of the motor vehicles department, has also started his campaign. The BJP polled only 3,083 votes in 2011, but it more than doubled its strength in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The BJP-BDJS combine may be able to spring a surprise.

Merchants and fishermen have a significant presence in the constituency. In the delimitation process in 2011, Muthukulam grama panchayat was detached from Kayamkulam while Bharanikkavu and Chettikulangara grama panchayats were added to the constituency.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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