Thiruvambady likely to be a bone of contention

LS polls proved strong support base of Cong. in segment

The Thiruvambady and Perambra Assembly segments in Kozhikode district are likely to become a bone of contention between the Congress and its constituents, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and the P.J. Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress (M) in the coming Assembly polls.

The State and district Congress leaderships have taken a conscious decision to field their nominees in these segments in which the IUML and the KC(M) nominees have been contesting for quite a long time.

The last time the Congress contested the Thiruvambady seat was in 1987 when P.P. George won the segment. In the case of Perambra, the KC(M) had unsuccessfully fielded its candidates in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016 Assembly polls. The Congress leadership thinks that its nominees have better chances of winning from these segments in the coming polls. The decision comes in the wake of the leadership planning to contest more seats in the district after the Jose K. Mani faction of the Kerala Congress (M) and the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) left the United Democratic Front (UDF).

In the run-up to the Assembly polls in 2011 and 2016, the Congress had a difficult time conceding the Thiruvambady seat to the IUML. The settler farmers in the hill region as well as the Catholic Church had desired that the Congress contest the seat. Another reason is that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi represents the Wayanad parliamentary constituency in which Thiruvambady is a segment.

Now, the Congress-Catholic relationship would become more pronounced after the Jose K. Mani faction joined the CPI(M)-led the Left Democratic Front (LDF) camp. The CPI(M) also has plans to offer the Thiruvambady seat to the Jose faction.

Moreover, the IUML and Congress have a proposal to swap the Thiruvambady and Perambra seats just as they had done in the case of the Kunnamangalam and Balussery seats in 2016.

In Perambra, the Congress leadership feels that the Joseph group is not a formidable party in Kozhikode district. Sources said that the Congress, which has had no legislators from the district in the past 20 years, has been benevolent in offering the winnable seats to its partners. That the Congress had a good support base in both these segments was reflected in the Lok Sabha polls.

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