Old rivals to battle it out for Mavelikkara

In Mavelikkara, one of the two constituencies in Kerala reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SC), it is a contest between two familiar opponents.

Kodikunnil Suresh, sitting MP and Minister of State for Labour, is yet again locked in LS battle with CPI’s Chengara Surendran and issues surrounding development have become main part of the poll plank. This is the fourth time that Suresh and Surendran are contesting against each other. Surendran won from the now-dissolved Adoor constituency in 1998 and 2004 while it was Suresh who took the seat in 1999. In 2004, Surendran defeated Suresh by over 54,000 votes.

Suresh has a list of achievements, including bringing the Indo Tibetan Border Police unit in Nooranad, new trains and extension of rail routes, realignment of the Kollam-Theni National Highway through the constituency, release of funds for the flood-ravaged regions of Kuttanad and clearance for a new ESI medical college in Mavelikkara. The rival camp, meanwhile, pointed out that most of these projects were at an early stage and they needed much more than lip-service to enter the next level.

K R Chandramohanan, CPI State Secretariat member, told Deccan Herald that the MP’s development talk was shallow and new promises would remain promises because of a “massive anti-Congress wave” at the Centre and the state. “To start with, the MP can’t seek votes as a prospective MoS to ensure new development projects because the Congress is going to be routed at the Centre. Further, people across this constituency know that these tall claims of development are all on paper,” he said.

“There’s a host of development projects that were initiated in the constituency during his term as an MP and MoS. Naturally, the Congress is focusing on the one-point agenda of development in this election,” said Vijayakumar, secretary at the Congress Bhavan. The BJP has fielded Yuva Morcha state president P Sudheer from the seat.

The LDF has highlighted price rise as a key poll issue. Surendran’s campaign team alleged shoddy handling of the Kuttanad package and relief measures for farmers and cashew industry workers in the constituency. The Congress, meanwhile, claimed that the MP had completed 80 per cent of projects initiated over the last five years and was on course to finish the rest.

DH News Service

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