Kollam: All the Kollam constituencies have turned red in the last Legislative Assembly elections, which alone might not be enough for the LDF to win this Lok Sabha election. By fielding the sitting MP N.K. Premachandran, the UDF eyes on maintaining the seat won by the RSP by defeating the CPM polit bureau member M.A. Baby who was then Kundara MLA.
The LDF candidate K.N. Balagopal, who is also the CPM state committee member, has the strength of his organisational setup to take on his opponents. The NDA fields K.V. Sabu, who is new to the constituency.
The LDF considers K.N. Balagopal’s family connection, where his brother Kalanjoor Madhu is one of the director board members of the NSS leadership. But there were reports that when the duo met NSS general secretary G. Sukumaran Nair few weeks ago at Perunna, he had declined to help citing the CPM's stand in the Sabarimala issue.
The UDF finds the public acceptance of candidate N.K. Premachandran to be useful in the fray. Support of Congress party supporters is expected to help the candidate though the RSP has got lesser acceptance after their cross-over to the UDF. Developmental activities in the constituency including opening of the railway station second terminal along with Kollam bypass are the major propaganda of the UDF.
Though the BJP has got only a weak grip over the voters in Kollam constituency, it is using the arrival of Prime Minister to open the Kollam bypass as election propaganda claiming that the Center intervened to complete the works. The completion of Kollam bypass is the main achievement claimed by both the UDF and LDF while the BJP propagates it to have undertaken by the Central Government.
While the campaignings are in full pace, the speech of Mr. Premachandran commenting that the CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan intends to enter women in mosques likewise the party did in Sabarimala had attracted controversy.
As a result District Collector S.Karthikeyan has warned the UDF candidate for his speech that allegedly contained communal remark. He was ordered to abstain from such speeches in future and that it would be considered a violation of model code of conduct.
The collector, who is also the electoral officer, intervened in the issue based on a petition filed by CPI(M) state committee member K. Varadarajan. The collector had earlier sought explanation from Mr. Premachandran for his alleged speech instigating religious tension.
The food packet distribution by the CPM was also in news after Mr. Premachandran alleged it was being used for election campaigning. The candidates have now entered yet another round of campaigning covering the grass root level including house visits.