ALAPPUZHA: As the curtain came down on the public campaigning in Aroor on Saturday, the major political fronts were hoping to turn the tide in their favour. Several controversies marred the heated campaign mounted by Shanimol Usman of the UDF, Manu C. Pulickal of the LDF and K.P. Prakash Babu of the BJP for over a month. The infamous comment made by PWD Minister G. Sudhakaran comparing Shanimol to the mythical ‘Poothana’ boomeranged forcing him to make amends after the UDF created an uproar.
Manu C. Pulickal, the CPM’s Young Turk, had the early bird advantage. But Shanimol Usman, the doughty woman leader of the Congress, neutralised him with her emotional appeal. She had gained a majority of 630 votes against the LDF in the Assembly segment in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
She was also booked by the Aroor police on October 3 with non-bailable charges for obstructing the work of the Ezhupunna- Eramalloor road.
Senior Congress leader and former MLA D. Sugathan triggered a storm by making some comments against the Pulickal family, to which the CPM candidate belongs. He said in a Facebook post that the soldiers who killed the peasants during the Punnapra- Vayalar uprising in 1946 were feasted by the Pulickal family.
G. Sudhakaran, who earned a clean chit from the Election Commission, also created a drama by staging a one-hour strike at the site of Alappuzha bypass blaming the railways for its delay.
While the LDF banked on the achievements of the Pinarayi Vijayan government, the UDF and the BJP played the caste and Sabarimala cards to the hilt. K.P. Prakash Babu, one of the leaders of the Sabarimala agitation a year ago, tried to gain mileage from the temple row.
Though the NDA projected the Modi government’s development policies, its ally BDJS largely kept off the campaign which targeted the LDF government for Aroor’s backwardness.
The LDF, which kept a studied silence on Sabarimala at the initial stage, later tried to woo the faithful with the chief minister saying that his government paid top priority to protecting the faith.
SNDP general secretary Vellapally Natesan’s open backing for the LDF may prove crucial . The constituency is spread over Arookutty, Aroor, Chennam-Pallippuram, Ezhupunna, Kodanthuruth, Kuthiathode, Panavally, Perumbalam, Thycattusserry and Thuravur panchayats....