KOLLAM: CPM’s decision to field actor Mukesh by denying ticket to sitting MLA P K Gurudasan in Kollam constituency, where it is facing stiff challenge from the RSP, is perceived as its strategy to wrest the seat.
P K Gurudasan, who helped CPM clinch the seat for the first time in 2006, is a popular leader with a squeaky clean image. Gurudasan again won in 2011 when the RSP was still in the LDF. But the Left is worried over the growing clout which the Congress enjoys since RSP joined its fold during 2014 Lok Sabha election. The Congress had won the seat in the first Assembly election held after the state was formed in 1957 when A A Rahim of the Congress drubbed T K Divakaran (RSP) by over 7,000-odd votes. Rahim retained the seat in 1960 routing P K Sukumaran of CPM by around 7,000 votes. Congress turned out to be lucky third time when Henry Austin squeaked home in 1965 by a slender margin of just 250 votes to beat LDF- backed T K Divakaran.
However, Congress went into an exile after the 1967 election when T K Divakaran defeated Henry Austin by a mammoth margin of around 10,000 votes. RSP reinforced its position in the 1970 election when T K Divakaran trounced P K Sukumaran of the CPM by over 10,000 votes.
It grew in strength to defeat N Padmalochanan of the CPM by over 13,000 votes in the 1977 election. And in 1980 Kadavur Sivadasan (RSP) scraped through defeating C V Padmarajan of Congress by over 2,400 votes. Sivadasan, who joined the RSPS- a breakaway faction of RSP- maintained the winning streak in the 1982 election when he defeated S Thyagarajan of the RSP by over 7,000 votes. RSP which was pushed to the electoral margins after that returned with a bang to win the seat in 1987 when Babu Divakaran defeated Kadavur Sivadasan by over 11,000 votes.
After a quarter century, Congress made a comeback by wresting the seat through Kadavur Sivadas, who had by then switched allegiance to join Congress, defeating Babu Divakaran of RSP by about 5,000 votes in 1991.
The Congress fought the election on the massive sympathy wave triggered after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Tables turned in 1996 when Babu Divakaran (RSP) won the seat back.
The 2001 election saw a vertical split in the RSP with Babu Divakaran contesting the polls under RSP(B) while the leader of ‘original’ RSP Kallada Vijayan losing by a margin of over 12,000 votes. P K Gurudasan became the first CPM leader to win the seat in the 2006 election defeating Babu Divakaran (RSPM) by over 11,000 votes. Gurudasan went on to defeat K C Rajan of the INC in the 2011 election by a margin of over 7000 votes.