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Battle of pride awaits CPM in Kerala bypoll

The by-election in Kerala’s Neyyattinkara Assembly constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district, likely to be held in May, will be a virtual do-or-die battle for the CPI(M) and the LDF it leads. Given the general political environment in the State and the constituency in particular, a win appears to be a difficult goal for the party.

The first worry of the CPI(M) is the fact that the LDF candidate’s rival will be Marxist renegade R Selvaraj, whose resignation as MLA representing Neyyattinkara and from the party on March 9 necessitated the by-election. Selvaraj’s candidature is a foregone conclusion but the only thing left to be known is whether he would be an official Congress candidate or an Independent.

The CPI(M) the other day declared F Lawrence, a member of the Parassala Block Panchayat and a comparatively unknown politician in Neyyattinkara, as the LDF candidate for the bypoll. Though Lawrence has several plus points in the community-ridden politics of the constituency, the CPI(M) will have to first carry out a special campaign to familiarise him with the electorate.

In the existing circumstances, the CPI(M) cannot even imagine losing the Neyyattinkara bypoll especially as it had already lost the March 17 by-election in Piravam leading to the restoration of the original strength (72) of the Congress-led ruling UDF in the 140-member State Assembly.

At the same time, the resignation of Selvaraj had brought the LDF strength down to 67 from 68.

The Neyyattinkara by-poll is also an issue of prestige and political pride for the Marxists simply because of the way Selvaraj had pushed them into a pit of defenselessness and political weakness at the most inopportune moment – on the eve of the Piravam by-poll. Also, it has to prevent the UDF from improving its margin in the Assembly.

The CPI(M) has already prepared a detailed campaign plan for Neyyattinkara, and the activities started the other day with Politbureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan himself announcing the candidate at a meeting where he explained why Lawrence himself should be the candidate though he was not a frontline leader.

Lawrence belongs to the Nadar community which constitutes about 50 percent of the electorate in Neyyattinkara. Since Selvaraj also belongs to the Nadar community, it was absolutely necessary for the Marxists to find a candidate from the same section. Lawrence has got the added advantage of being a clean political activist and having a poor background.

One of the drawbacks of the CPI(M) is that it cannot approach the electorate with the claims of the development initiatives taken by its (former) MLA – Selvaraj – for the constituency since it would only help the UDF candidate. In fact, one of the campaign points of Selvaraj would be the works he had done despite the negative approach of the CPI(M).

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Posted by on Apr 20 2012. Filed under Kerala News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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