Polling per cent lower than expected in Pala
Today, Kerala witnesses a crucial by-election – the election to the seat vacated by political kingmaker K M Mani (who passed away recently due to age related ailments). Pala, the constituency which the late Kerala Congress leader represented for years, is the stronghold of the Congress led United Democratic Front – the political alliance in which the KC (M), the party founded by the late leader, is an integral part.
Post the unexpected demise of the kingmaker, the politics of the region has changed slightly. The KC (M) is going through a tough time at this moment. In the party, its two main factions fight against each other for the title of the legitimate successor of the late strongman. The main faction is the one led by the strongman’s son, Jose K Mani, and the other is the one led by the closest friend of the late leader, P J Joseph. With no faction showing the resolve to settle the crisis, the issue increases in size and depth day by day.
In reality, it is what that makes the LDF to see the Pala by-election as an opportunity, despite its repeated failures in almost all election it has contested in the constituency in the recent past – even the recent Lok Sabha election, in which the LDF was reduced to a mere one in the state and the UDF was increased to over 19, was not promising for the left-led front.
The only advantage the BJP has over the others in the present election is the age of its candidate; the saffron party’s candidate is comparatively younger than other two main parties in the election fray.
Among the three main candidates, Jose Tom Pulikkunnel, the one who represents the UDF, is comparatively the new face. The other two, Mani C Kappen – the one contests for the LDF, and N Hari – the one stands for the BJP, have contested in the constituency several times in the past, and demonstrated their capability to attract the hear of the people of the constituency.
In a normal situation, the KC (M) candidate can easily win the constituency. But, this time, the things are not normal. This time, the infighting inside the KC (M) is in its peak. And, moreover, this time, the party lacks the support of its kingmaker – the main who was the regarded as the king and kingmaker of the region.
As per a latest update, the polling per cent in the by-election has not reached the expected height yet. What it implies is not clear at this juncture.
Can the KC (M) retain its stronghold is the big question of the day.
Vignesh. S. G
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