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Chengannur Assembly bypoll may well set the tone for LS elections

Following the untimely demise of  K K Ramachandran Nair MLA, who had scored an upset  win in Chengannur — a traditional Congress bastion — to enter the Assembly, the state will witness a hard fought t

Published: 22nd January 2018 01:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2018 07:06 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Following the untimely demise of  K K Ramachandran Nair MLA, who had scored an upset  win in Chengannur — a traditional Congress bastion — to enter the Assembly, the state will witness a hard fought three-way contest in the forthcoming bypoll similar to the showdown in 2016.

The CPM victory, after a quarter of a century in the central Travancore constituency, was a major politcal development as it saw the emergence of the minority Muslim voters influencing the outcome of the polls in the Assembly segment where Nair and Christian votes have proved decisive. By scoring an epoh-making  triumph, the CPM proved it could indeed deliver despite the odds stacked against the party.
However, due to KKR’s  untimely death, the CPM will now have to scout around for an ideal replacement for the deceased legislator. The party nor the ruling combine can barely afford to lose the bypoll, which is expected  to take place ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Across the political divide, it is virtually unthinkable for the Congress, which regards the constituency as a safe seat, to lose from there again as the Opposition UDF has much at stake  since it is looking to win the maximum number of Lok Sabha seats from the state.

The Congress party’s two- time winner and charismatic leader P C Vishnunath had tasted comfortable victories at the hustings in Chengannur in both 2006 and 2011. But the game-changer in the 2016 election was the BJP decision to field its former state chief and the party’s moderate face P S Sreedharan Pillai. If the BJP state brass had capitalised on the support garnered by Pillai initially, the eventual outcome could have well been different.

Irrespective of this, the BJP cannot overlook the fact Pillai had polled an impressive 42,600 votes and this means the party cannot take the upcoming bypoll lightly. The BJP also needs to convince allies like the BDJS and the Kerala Congress that it does indeed stand a chance of coming out with flying colours.
As in any election, it will  be the winnability of the candidates that matters the most, though it is way too early to speculate on possible names.

High stakes

Due to K K Ramachandran Nair’s untimely death, the CPM will now have to scout around for an ideal replacement
It is virtually unthinkable for the Congress, which regards the constituency as a safe seat,
to lose from there again



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