THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: With RSP’s N K Premachandran wresting Kollam with a margin of over 37,000 votes, the party has not only strengthened its position in the UDF but has also sent out a clear message to the CPM that smaller parties cannot be pushed around.
An electoral win in Kollam against a political heavyweight like M A Baby of the CPM was considered by many as a daunting task. But Premachandran, backed by the experience of a two-time consecutive win from Kollam in 1996 and 1998, proved that the contest was a cakewalk.
Even with the strength of the massive CPM cadre on his side, Baby could manage only 3.7 lakh votes compared to Premachandran who easily garnered over four lakh votes.
BJP candidate P K Velayudhan, who finished third, could fetch only over 58,000 votes.
Premachandran’s margin this time around was only half of what he garnered in 1996 and 1998 when he contested as an RSP candidate under the LDF alliance in Kollam.
In 1996, he stopped the three-time Congress MP S Krishnakumar’s dream run by a margin of 78,370 votes. In 1998 too he repeated his performance by beating K C Rajan of the Congress by 71,762 votes.
However, Premachandran’s margin this time was double that of Congress’ N Peethambara Kurup who won the seat in 2009 with a margin of around 18,000 votes. Clearly, the RSP’s support base in the cashew heartland had not died down despite the party being out of the electoral scene in Kollam, its erstwhile formidable fort, since the 1998 Lok Sabha election.
Now, with three MLAs and an MP, the RSP hopes it will be duly rewarded by the UDF with party state secretary A A Aziz playing a “larger role” soon as part of a pre-merger understanding. Clearly, RSP’s dream innings has begun.