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LDF trying to improve its tally in its citadel

Tuesday 2 May 2006, by NAZEER*Mohamed

LDF trying to improve its tally in its citadel

UDF nurses hopes to maintain status quo

KANNUR: The Left Democratic Front (LDF) is trying to improve its tally in the Assembly elections scheduled for Wednesday in the district, a bastion of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

The Opposition front won seven seats and the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) the remaining three in the 2001 elections.

The Congress-led UDF is trying hard to at least maintain the status quo. To retain Peravur and Irikkur, two of the three seats won by the Congress last time, A.D. Musthafa and K.C. Joseph, MLAs, who have been fielded again, are working hard to outsmart their rival candidates, K.K. Shylaja and James Mathew respectively, of the CPI(M).

In the Thalassery constituency, the CPI(M) candidate Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, MLA, is working overtime to outdo the challenge put up by his Congress rival Rajmohan Unnithan on the campaign front. Whether Mr. Unnithan’s aggressive campaign may translate into votes is not known, but he is seen as match for Mr. Balakrishnan.

Even as the UDF election campaign managers entertain high hopes in the Thalassery constituency, given the high-profile campaign by Mr. Unnithan, the Left front is leaving nothing to chance in this traditional CPI(M) stronghold. The election scene here is keenly watched, thanks to the presence of Mr. Unnithan.

The Taliparamba, Kuthuparamba, Azhikode and Payyannur constituencies are CPI(M) bastions. Even in the 2001 elections, swept by the UDF in the State, only the Peravur seat was snatched away from the Left front in the district.

The party’s supremacy in Koothuparamba and Azhikode was proved as recently as in the byelections held nearly a year ago.

P. Jayarajan and M. Prakashan, MLAs fielded again by the party in Koothuparamba and Azhikode, respectively, are not facing much of a challenge from their rivals, Sajiv Joseph of the Congress and K.K. Nanu of the Communist Marxist Party.

P.K. Sreemathi, MLA, and C.K.P. Padmanabhan of the CPI(M) are in a comparable situation in Payyannur and Taliparamba respectively. Their respective Congress rivals are K. Surendran and Chandran Thillankeri.

UDF charge

The ruling front claims that the CPI(M) has made these constituencies its monopoly territories through undemocratic practices such as impersonation, bogus voting, intimidation of voters and even physical assault of UDF workers and booth agents. They hope that the unprecedented law- and-order arrangements initiated by the Election Commission in the district will brighten the front’s chance of posing a real challenge.

The Peringalam and Edakkad constituencies, though traditional LDF strongholds, are by no means treated as not winnable by the ruling front. The Left front calculates that Peringalam MLA K.P. Mohanan of the Janata Dal (S), carrying the legacy of his father and former Minister the late P.R. Kurup, is on a stronger pitch there than his Indian Union Muslim League rival V.K. Abdul Khader Moulavi.

The Left front candidate Ramachandran Kadannappally in Edakkad stands a good chance against the UDF candidate K.C. Kadambooran, according to the Left front camp. The calculation is that Mr. Kadannappally will get votes from even Congress workers who may not vote for the nominee of the Democratic Indira Congress (Karunkaran).

The UDF attaches high value to the Kannur constituency as it does to Irikkur and, to a certain extent, Peravur. K. Sudhakaran, MLA, is seeking his third re-election from the Kannur constituency, which has been traditionally disposed towards the ruling front. The CPI(M) has fielded K.P. Sahadevan, a trade union leader, to offer a strong challenge to Mr. Sudhakaran. Capturing the Kannur seat from the UDF is a long-standing dream of the CPI(M), but the ruling front is fighting hard to ensure that it remains a Congress stronghold.

As the candidates and their campaigners are making last-minute preparations for winning more votes, a major concern here is law and order. Elaborate arrangements are under way for holding a free and fair polling in the district where all the 1,477 polling booths have been declared sensitive. The Election Commission has appointed 10 more election observers in addition to 13 observers already appointed.

See online : The Hindu

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