THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Election Commission’s announcement of the schedule of the Aruvikkara Assembly bypoll, with hardly a month for the polling on June 27, is poised to jolt the UDF, especially the Congress.
It would be definitely a political litmus test as never before for the four-year-old Oommen Chandy government.
At a time when the government is gasping with a slew of negatives including the uncertainty revolving around the bar bribery scam probe, the UDF could not ask for a worst time than this to go to the electorate. The bypoll results could trigger political undercurrents with far reaching consequences, in an election year.
Neither the UDF nor the LDF has veered around a choice as of now on the contestants.
The preferred choice of the Congress as its candidate is Dr Saleekha, an academician and widow of Karthikeyan. She has not given her nod so far but indirectly suggested the name of the couple’s second son,to which,the Congress leadership is not enthused.
It is learnt that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president V M Sudheeran are trying to prevail upon her through the direct intervention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi to enter the fray.
The CPM is toying with many names to be put up, including former speaker-minister M Vijayakumar. The Nadar community element is notable in the segment, though the Nair Community is predominant there.
Of late, the Hindu Nadar community-backed VSDP has entered the scene.
Essentially a segment with rustic character even when remaining on the outskirts of the capital, at present there is a huge sympathy wave ruling in favour of the deceased Karthikeyan. It is where the Congress is trying to pitch tent and retain the segment.
A Significant Bypoll for Both Fronts
Not only that the state would witness a direct fight between leading front partners Congress and CPM in Aruvikkara, but the bypoll is also significant since the after effects of the poll outcome would create much waves among their respective political allies.
The succeeding local bodies polls and also the general assembly polls, which is not far away, may not be swayed much with the poll outcome. But the stakes of UDF would be devastating, as the Left, though with not much vigour, has put the government on tenter-hooks.