ALAPPUZHA: A high-voltage campaign is being witnessed in Chengannur as the bypoll has become a prestigious one for all three major fronts. While the BJP is buoyed by its good showing in Karnataka, the UDF and LDF are banking on their traditional strengths to come up trumps.State and Central ministers are camping in the constituency to canvas votes for the LDF and BJP, respectively. UDF leaders are focusing on the grassroots, going from village to village to woo voters.
As many as 17 candidates are in the fray and the Election Commission allotted symbols to all the candidates on Tuesday. Two electronic voting machines will be needed at each polling statios as 18 buttons will be needed, including Nota. The Election Commission has made all arrangements for a peaceful and smooth election.
Union Minister Alphons Kannamthanam, BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan and other senior leaders of the BJP are very active in the constituency. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, state ministers and other senior leaders of the LDF, including VS Achuthanandan, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other leaders are in the constituency to woo voters.
LDF campaign manager and CPM state committee member M V Govindan Master said the margin and vote share must increase in the election. “The voters and party cadre are satisfied with the Pinarayi Vijayan Government and it should reflect in the election,” he said. UDF election committee general convener Aby Kuriakose said the UDF is confident about victory. “The voters will cast votes against the anti-people policies of Narendra Modi and Pinarayi Vijayan,” he said.
“We are very confident about victory in Chengannur,” said M T Ramesh, state general secretary of the BJP. “The thumping victory in Karnataka created much confidence in party workers and it would be reflected in the byelection. The LDF and UDF are trying to prevent the Modi wave, but all will become futile soon.”
The SNDP and Kerala Congress (M) are yet to reveal their stance. Both organisations have a prominent sway over voters of the constituency. The SNDP also organised a rally to prove its strength on Tuesday.
Collector and District Election Officer T V Anupama said all arrangements are progressing.
“The Election Commission is aiming for a smooth and fair election. Arrangements are nearing its final stage to attain maximum participation of voters in the election process,” she said.
IN THE FRAY
1 D Vijayakumar (Congress) Hand
2 P S Sreedharan Pillai (BJP) Lotus
3 Saji Cheriyan (CPM) Hammer Sickle and Star
4 Jiji Poonthala (Rashtriya Lok Dal) Hand pump
5 Madhu Chengannur (SUCI-M) Torch
6 Rajeev Pallath (AAP) Hat
7 Subhash Naga (Ambedkerite Party of India) Coat
8 Aji M Chalakkeri (Independent) TV
9 Unni Karthikeyan (Ind) Pot
10 M C Jayalal (Ind) Ring
11 Murali Naga (Ind) Candle
12 Mohanan Achari (Ind) Necklace
13 Sivaprasad Gandhi K M (Ind) Coconut
14 Sreedharan Pillai (Ind) Fruit pot
15 A K Shaji (Ind) Whistle
16 Somanath Varrier T K (Ind) Flute
17 Swami Sukaakash Saraswathi (Ind) Telephone
Municipality: Chengannur municipality; Panchayats: Ala, Budhanoor, Cheriyanad, Mannar, Mulakuzha, Pandanad, Puliyoor, Thiruvanvandoor, Venmony and Chennithala-Thripperumthura
NO OF VOTERS
K K Ramachandran Nair (CPM): 52,880 votes
P C Vishnunath (Congress): 44,897 votes
P S Sreedharan Pillai (BJP): 42,282 votes