Shashi Tharoor locked in three-way contest

Shashi Tharoor locked in three-way contest

Shashi Tharoor locked in three-way contest

An enthralling three-way contest awaits Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency in the April 10 polls. 

With the Nair and Nadar communities deciding the fate of the candidates for decades in this constituency, their influence would likely continue in this election given the choice of candidates and the focus of their campaign. 

Sitting Congress MP and Union minister of state (MOS) for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor has been fielded once again from the capital city. 

Tharoor, who won by nearly a lakh votes in 2009 against his CPI opponent P Ramachandran Nair, is just emerging from a series of controversies surrounding his private life. However, the Congress high command has kept faith with him to win.

This time, Tharoor is pitted against CPI’s Bennet Abraham, dubbed a lightweight candidate by political analysts. Community equations could yet make this contest interesting. 

The CPI had to stave off opposition to field Abraham, in an effort to woo the Nadar Christian votes. Three-time Congress MP A Charles, who represented Thiruvananthapuram from 1984 to 96, is a case in point in support of the vote bank theory. Interestingly, Tharoor kick-started his campaign by visiting Charles, which critics have termed as a ploy to check the potential switch of community votes. 

The Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency covers seven Assembly segments and has a total of over 12.42 lakh voters. The opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) last won this constituency in 2005 by-elections, when CPI’s Pannyan Ravindran emerged victorious.

BJP’s O Rajagopal completes the triangular contest here. Rajagopal had finished a tantalisingly close third in 2004 when CPI’s P K Vasudevan Nair won the seat. Rajagopal, mindful of the community influences, has met the Nair Service Society (NSS) leadership ahead of the election.

Adding to the mix is the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is making an electoral debut in the state by fielding former IPS officer Ajit Joy in the constituency. 

The AAP is pitching itself as an alternative in Kerala’s bipolar political space and is hoping to strike a chord with the young voters.