All out efforts to stop Left juggernaut in Kasargod

The last minute trend from the Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency which has only 24 hours left for the polls is that Left Democratic Front (LDF) has to expect a miracle to retain its 64,427 votes of majority it had in 2009. 

The fight at this traditional Left bastion is a triangular one with Congress and BJP taking no chances to overlook even a single vote. The final picture is that sitting MP of CPM, P Karunakaran may retain the seat but with a less majority for the fierce battle put up by other contenders, especially the BJP. 

In the parliamentary election history of Kasargod, it had only elected three MPs out of 14 who did not belong to LDF, that is, in 1971, 1977 and in 1984. The constituency has been made a red forte by the election of veteran Communist leaders such as A K Gopalan, Ramanna Rai and T Govindan. Since 2004, it was the turn of Karunakaran, a CPM central committee member to retain it which he did with ease twice. While the sizable chunk of Muslim votes, chiefly belonging to its ally, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) have been the traditional strength of the Congress led United Democratic Front (UDF), BJP’s hopes lie on linguistic minorities, located across Karnataka border.

 Looking on the basis of votes polled in assembly segments, the BJP came second in Kasargod, Manjeshwar constituencies in 2009 Parliamentary polls. The same was the case in 2011 assembly election also, where the Left was relegated to third position in these two seats. In 2009, BJP’s K Surendran had 1,25,482 votes in his kitty and this time the saffron party is aiming to raise it to two lakh. The significance of the constituency in BJP’s political map was evident from the fact that there was only a single halt in the itinerary of its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi’s second campaigning in Kerala, Kasargod. Along with the ebullient youth power of Surendran, BJP is riding piggyback on the shoulders of Modi wave. 

The Congress candidate, KPCC General Secretary T Sidique is regarded as a clean politician and his candidature this time had dispelled the usual allegation of imported candidate as that was the case with UDF many a times. A young, robust Congress man belonging to Muslim community is a well-thought out strategy and this will possibly have a resonance in voting. Congress is crossing its fingers to repeat a David-Goliath win of 1971, where the then young turk of Congress, Ramachandran Kadannapally had an upset victory over CPM’s stalwart leader E K Nayanar. 

P Karunakaran has been generally perceived as a good parliamentarian and he shares a good rapport at ground level. Though his 10 year term as a MP falls short of excellent tag, Karunakaran is regarded as one among the best MPs in the state. Out of the seven Assembly segments that falls under Kasargod LS seat, only two—Kasargod, Manjeshwar—are with UDF and the rest—Uduma, Kanjangad, Thrikaripur, Payyannur, Kallyaseri—are in LDF fold. It was during the de-limitation in 2008, Payyannur and Kallyaseri, two strong Left holds in Kannur district were added to Kasargod LS seat. The soaring mercury level in the constituency has the concluding word that but for these two assembly seats, Kasargod would possibly be left its red colour this time. 

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