KASARGOD: Though cut off from the everyday political discourses of the state, Kasargod district becomes the starting point of all parties and political ambitions as the election bell rings.
When Chief Minister Oommen Chandy flags off state Congress chief V M Sudheeran’s ‘Save Kerala Yatra’ from Kumbla on Monday, it will be the fourth statewide political rally to commence from Kasargod in the three months after the panchayat elections in November. Nine more are lined up by various political parties and startups with the capital being obvious destination in January.
“Kasargod becomes the starting point because of its geographical position, and not because of any special love for it. Thiruvananthapuram is the destination because everybody loves the capital,” said a local political leader. To buttress his point, he said the district was not represented in the cabinet for the past 10 years during the rule of both the LDF and the UDF. Also, more than 50% of the households in the district are below the poverty line, he said.
However, these trivia are not on the mind of state leaders when they board the overnight Maveli Express and Malabar Express to Kasargod to launch their campaigns and vision for the state ahead of the Assembly election, which is just months away.
Behind Sudheeran is LDF’s chief ministerial hopeful Pinarayi Vijayan, followed by IUML’s P K Kunhalikutty, Kerala Congress (M)’s K M Mani, Kerala Congress (Secular)’s P C George, CPI’s Kanam Rajendran, BJP’s Kummanam Rajasekharan, NCP’s state president Uzavoor Vijayan, pro-BJP leader P C Thomas of the Kerala Congress, and Yuva Janata Dal state president Salim Madavoor.
The ‘theme of the rally’ is as important as the starting venue. In November, Vellappally Natesan toured the state on the Samathwa Munetta Yatra plank to bring together all the Hindu organisations and form his party. Catering to his constituency, he started his rally from Madhur temple. As a prelude, the youth wing of the CPM, the DYFI, launched a statewide ‘Secular Yatra’ and Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan flagged it off at Kayyur.
On January 1, the BSP started its tour to create awareness on the Constitution and implement reservation in aided and private sector. It will reach the capital on January 31.
Twelve kilometres further up on the national highway in Uppala, CPM’s Vijayan would start his journey to Thiruvananthapuram on January 15. Party’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury would flag off the ‘new Kerala’ rally, said CPM leaders.
Industries Minister Kunhalikutty will begin his campaign run on January 24, with the party’s president Syed Hyder Ali Shiab Thangal handing over the flag. CPI’s Rajendran will launch his campaign from the northern tip of Manjeshwaram on Jan 27.
BJP president Kummanam Rajasekharan, too, would launch his party’s campaign at Manjeshwaram on Jan 20.
Otherwise, a punishment destination, during election time, Kasargod will see all parties bringing in their top leaders to fire the first salvo on their rivals.
■ Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will flag off state Congress chief V M Sudheeran’s ‘Save Kerala Yatra’ on Monday
■ CPM’s Pinarayi Vijayan would start his journey to Thiruvananthapuram on January 15
■ BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan would launch campaign at Manjeshwaram on Jan 20
■ Industries Minister Kunhalikutty will begin his campaign run on Jan 24
■ CPI’s Rajendran will launch his campaign from the northern tip of Manjeshwaram on Jan 27