THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Attingal constituency which has been sending LDF MPs to Parliament for the past many elections is now in for a tough fight with LDF candidate and sitting MP A Sampath engaged in a three-cornered fight with UDF candidate Adoor Prakash MLA and NDA candidate and BJP state general secretary Sobha Surendran.
The main allegation raised against the sitting MP is that there is no development in the constituency and Adoor Prakash told Express the constituency is totally underdeveloped and the MP hasn’t done anything for the people of the constituency. Refuting the allegations, Sampath said his priority of development is people-centric.
Madhusoodhanan, a hotelier in Venjaranmoodu, says “Congress has been on the backfoot in this constituency always and even in the last Lok Sabha elections it was like that. However, in this election, the Congress has been engaged in a spirited fight and the workers are seen everywhere. I think the fight is tough and even if Sampath wins it will be by a whisker.”
In the red areas in the interior parts of Venjaranmoodu, people prefer Sampath but there is some resentment even from loyal party workers. Sainuddin, a rubber tapping worker and party member, says “Yes, of course, Sampath will win and this is a vote for the Pinarayi Government and against the anti-people policies of the Modi Government. People are happy at the performance of Sampath but he could have done better.”
While Sampath had won the last Lok Sabha elections with a margin of 69,378 votes against his nearest rival Bindu Krishna of the UDF taking a lead in all seven Assembly constituencies and this margin has nearly quadrupled from his 2009 electoral victory against G Balachandran when the victory margin was 18,341 votes.
Praveen and Shibu, drivers of taxi jeeps and residents of Chullam, say “CPM and the left are declining in this area which was dominated by the left. Sabarimala is an issue which cannot be pushed aside and there will be a reflection of that in this polls. We are both from left families and we feel BJP candidate Sobha Surendran will do extremely well this time.”
Attingal, it may be noted, is a left bastion and according to the front reports, it is considered as an A+ constituency with the left expecting to win with an improved margin. However, on the ground, things are not as rosy as the party has expected. Shahjahan (name changed), a party worker from Vellanchira, says “We are facing a tough challenge which we never expected. With the arrival of Adoor Prakash, the Congress workers are charged up and the BJP candidate is also very active. More than that there are negative traits against our candidate also, may be owing to the anti-incumbency factor. We are working hard for a repeat but I am not very sure.”
In Varkala, the mood was not different and people in large numbers say the Attingal bypass is a major issue which the MP should have taken up properly. Sunil, an autorickshaw driver of Punnamoodu in Varkala, says “The Attingal bypass is a major issue and the traffic snarl-ups are leading even to ambulances getting blocked. Kollam and Alappuzha bypass are already in place and the MPs there have taken the initiatives but unfortunately, Sampath is found wanting here.”
Shibu, a businessman in Varkala, said, “Sampath is a good MP, accessible to people and has taken up issues pertaining to the constituency.”