Safety and anxiety hand in hand in Palakkad

While the district has some safest bets for LDF, some segments can spring surprises

Palakkad district is known for its variety and surprises, be it in politics or culture. The district has some of the safest constituencies for the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF). Yet, it has all the potential to be in the centre of attention by having some constituencies which will witness all-out fights this time.

Even before the final battle lines are drawn, two of the 12 constituencies are poised to witness fierce electoral fights — Palakkad and Thrithala. Both are currently represented by two zesty youngsters of the United Democratic Front (UDF) — Shafi Parambil (Palakkad) and V.T. Balram (Thrithala). Both are almost sure to try their luck for a third term.

Tough fight

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] is gearing up to give Mr. Balram its toughest fight in the district, especially as the party has a blunt axe to grind against him. A political bête noire for the CPI(M), Mr. Balram defeated CPI(M)’s Subaida Ishac by 10,547 votes in 2016. Since then, Mr. Balram and the CPI(M) have been at loggerheads. They often took to rancorous sallies on social media.

Thrithala appears to be one of the most prized for the CPI(M), and it is out at it by fielding M.B. Rajesh, former Palakkad MP.

Palakkad too will be a prized catch for the LDF; but Mr. Parambil over the past 10 years has made a solid footing in the constituency, where the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) had bagged the second position by polling 29.08% votes against the winner’s 41.77%. But the UDF’s vote share in the Palakkad Assembly seat had fallen by nearly 5% in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, with a proportionate increase in the LDF’s vote share while the BJP remained almost steady.

Shoranur, Ottappalam, Kongad and Malampuzha, which had successfully withstood the UDF sweep of 2019, appear safe bets for the LDF. Although Taroor, Nemmara, Alathur and Chittur had favoured UDF’s ‘singing sensation’ Remya Haridas, MP, by huge margins in 2019, the LDF is confident about its influence in those constituencies.

While the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) does not see any major challenge against it in Mannarkkad, the UDF is eyeing two key constituencies this time — Pattambi and Chittur. When Pattambi was lost to the Communist Party of India, Chittur was lost to the Janata Dal (S) in 2016. It needs to be seen what strategies the UDF plans to wrest back Pattambi and Chittur.

In spite of high hopes for the LDF in Kongad, the fall of the LDF lead in this SC-reserved Assembly segment to 356 in the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 has given the Congress fresh hopes.

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