THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The political mercury in Neyyatinkara, the last constituency in the Kerala Assembly list, is soaring day by day even before the bypoll notification as it turns to be a prestige issue for both the fronts as well as the BJP. Though the UDF and the LDF had a score to settle with each other, BJP is trying to be an active player in the 38th bypoll in the state by pushing none other than senior leader O Rajagopal into the fray with R Selvaraj of the UDF and F Lawrence of the LDF.
“There is a conducive atmosphere for the BJP at Neyyatinkara. The situation has changed drastically over the days after the resignation of Selvaraj. We have been receiving requests from many quarters for putting up a strong fight against the minority appeasement by both the fronts. Hence we proposed Rajettan,” says BJP district president Karamana Jayan. But both the CPM and the Congress reject the BJP’s claim.
CPM says that they are relieved when heard of BJP’s plan to field Rajagopal. “It seems that they will garner their own votes in the bypoll. Earlier, BJP used to sell their votes and the UDF was the beneficiary. But we expect they would get a maximum of 15,000 votes, as Rajagopal is contesting, and it will prove good for us,” said CPM district secretary Kadakampally Surendran.
V S Sivakumar, the lone representative of the UDF in the Cabinet from the district and hailing from Neyyatinkara, has no doubt about the victory of Selvaraj. “He will get a thumping majority than he received in 2011. Nothing will hamper the chance of his victory as a UDF candidate,” he said. However, BJP is eying on the resentment among the majority community at the “fifth minister” issue.
“BJP leaders had met the leaderships of both the NSS and the SNDP on several occasions,” said Jayan.
The present Neyyatinkara constituency was carved out of Neyyatinkara and Parassala constituencies in the delimitation process. But the BJP does not want to compare Rajagopal’s performance in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections in which these two constituencies combined could contribute only 48,218 votes to him. “His personality will make a difference now,” says Jayan.
“The real issue is the defection of the MLA. There was a minor outburst against Lawrence. But it is short-lived as the candidate is the apt one. We preferred Lawrence for his poor financial background and popularity which would make him a winner,” says Surendran.
UDF sees nothing wrong defending a candidate who made them bite the dust a year ago. “LDF candidate has a same background and not free from such allegations. In fact, we were trying to save Selvaraj who was being tormented by his own party. We are giving protection for a leader who had to quit for protecting political morality,” analysed Sivakumar.
All the three parties have started their campaign actively. BJP has even postponed their state meet scheduled from May 10 to 13 at Thrissur.