VADAKARA: The sun was going down when we reached Purameri in Kuttiadi Assembly segment on Tuesday evening where a motley crowd was waiting for LDF candidate P Jayarajan who reached there an hour behind schedule. A major news break had just come - veteran leader KM Mani’s demise. CPM workers led by Raju, a toddy tapper, were performing ‘Othenankali’, to the accompaniment of lyrics penned by CPM Nadapuram area committee member Dineshan.
Babu, a former expat, who runs a small tea shop now, from where we helped ourselves to steaming beverage, said, “ Sabarimala will not be a major issue here but lot of hard work is needed for CPM candidate to win. K Muraleedharan poses a stiff challenge, but Jayarajan will scrape through.”
Back in 2004, Jayarajan’s sister P Sathidevi had won from here by a huge margin of 1,30,589 votes. But, she lost to Mullappally Ramachandran by 56,186 votes in 2009. This was a constituency in which the Left bloc registered facile wins. But developments, including barbaric killing of RMP leader TP Chandrashekran, had drawn voters away in the interior pockets of Vadakara constituency which shares borders with Kozhikode, Kannur and Wayanad districts. In the meantime, the candidate, who reached the venue, was welcomed by bursting of crackers and drums and slogan shouting. Jayarajan spoke after observing a minute’s silence in memory of KM Mani. He said,”I am being called Keechaka and Kamsa but the fact is I’m a victim myself.”
The crowd comprising both men and women, all CPM supporters, were impressed. But the thunderous ovation, which is a given in these parts whenever a CPM leader addresses a gathering, was conspicuously missing.
We found NDA candidate VK Sajeevan and his entourage at Kunnumakkara. It was around 7.30 pm. Sajeevan flayed sitting MP Mullappally Ramachandran. According to him, there is no development in the constituency and Mullappally had done nothing to curb political violence.
On the BJP targeting the Congress, Sajeevan said, “We are attacking both, but they have an unholy alliance and we are conveying it to the people.”
Rajan, a BJP worker, told Express,” He is attacking Congress to prevent BJP men from voting for Congress.”
We caught up with UDF’s K Muraleedharan at Tikkoti in Kozhikode around 9 pm. A sizeable crowd had gathered there.Having been the Kozhikode MP, Muraleedharan is a household name in these parts. Askar, who does business, told Express,“There is no doubt Muraleedharan will win.”
Muraleedharan sounded tired, but the spark was there.“Politics of violence should come to an end and Rahul Gandhi contesting from neighbouring Wayand means development there will reaching Vadakara as well,” he said.
With elections being decided by undercurrents, these are early days yet. But the CPM in one of its traditional bastions is on the back foot here.