Cong makes bid to capture Kasargod after three decades

While Congress fielded a firebrand leader Rajmohan Unnithan, CPM replaced three- time MP P Karunakaran with another senior leader of Kasargod, K P Sateesh Chandran. Photo via FB.

The Congress is making a bid to capture the northern Kerala constituency of Kasargod from the CPM after a gap of three decades.

Political murders are the main weapon being used by the Congress against the Left front in the constituency that shares borders with Karnataka and has around one lakh Kannada-speaking population. Hence, political parties are also using posters and speeches in Kannada to woo the voters.
 
Since 1989, the CPM has been winning Kasargod. However, in the previous elections, the CPM's margin came down to 6,921. The Congress was in the second place over these years, while the BJP is having considerable influence in the northern assembly segments like Manjeswar and Kasargod, where they came second.
 
While Congress fielded a firebrand leader Rajmohan Unnithan, CPM replaced three- time MP P Karunakaran with another senior leader of Kasargod, K P Sateesh Chandran. BJP fielded Raveesh Thantri, who came second in the 2016 Assembly polls at Kasargod. While Sateesh Chandran and Raveesh are natives, Unnithan who is from South Kerala is using help of party workers to reach out in Kannada.

Cong strategy

The Congress is pinning hopes on pooling maximum votes from constituencies like Kalyaserry, Kanhangad and Payyannur, that were CPM's stronghold, by accusing the CPM of political murders. They are highlighting the recent murder of two Youth Congress workers. Even Congress president Rahul Gandhi visited the families of the deceased, which might also given an advantage to the Congress over the CPM as CPM workers were accused in the twin murders.
 
The BJP is highlighting the Sabarimala temple entry for women issue in the constituency, while Unnithan is also using it to some extent.
 
Various pressing needs of the constituency like better medical facilities and special schools, especially since the district has hundreds of children with mental and physical deformities, appears to be getting little attention. The long-pending demand for including more persons with deformities in the list of endosulfan victims also remains unaddressed. Muneesa, who has been working for the welfare of endosulfan victims, said that they were not highlighting their demands during the elections as it could lead to politicisation of the issue.

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