KASARGOD: In 1957, when Communist veteran A K Gopalan was the Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, he had challenged Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to test his popularity from Kasargod. After the states were reorganised along linguistic lines in 1957, Kasargod and Hosdurg taluks were cleaved from South Canara and clubbed with Kannur district.
It was a formidable electoral fortress for the undivided Communist party. But if Nehru were alive today, he would have given the communists a run for their money in Kasargod. For they are on a shaky wicket. In the past three terms, senior CPM leader P Karunakaran’s victory margin fell from 1.07 lakh in 2004 to 64,427 in 2009; Congress’s young leader T Siddique further brought Karunakaran’s victory margin down to 6,921 in 2014. But the Left attributed the fall in victory margin to the MP’s lack of charisma.
“He was unwelcome in Manjeshwaram. And we also stretched him a bit too much by asking him to contest for the third time,” said a left leader.