THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A governor suddenly quitting the post to take on a sitting MP is the kind of spicy ingredient which has been added to what looks to be an exciting triangular clash in the state’s capital, which became the first constituency to have a clear picture on the leading candidates in fray. Diplomat-turned-politician Shashi Tharoor, who won back to back in 2009 and 2014, has established himself in the constituency and looked to enjoy an edge despite the Left fielding senior CPI leader and sitting MLA C Divakaran. Kummanam Rajasekharan’s surprise entry on Friday seems to have changed the equations.
The senior BJP leader resigned as Mizoram Governor earlier in the day to boost the chances of the party, which opened its account in the Assembly elections last time in the district. It will be a prestigious battle also for the CPI, which was pushed to third position last time amid the ‘paymentseat row’ fiasco. “Of course, it’s going to be a tough political fight.
When your opponents are strong, it’ll reflect on the polls,” a confident Divakaran told Express. “It’s going to be a fight for a new India. The constituency has had no major development in the past 10 years, but mere promises and a few high-mast lights.”
Tharoor dwells on his strengths; C Divakaran criticises Centre
C Divakaran also criticised the BJP rule at the Centre. “A mere comparison of the welfare measures taken by the Pinarayi and Modi governments will give one a clear picture. How can a government which is trying to build Ram Temple at Ayodhya be called secular?” he asked. Tharoor told mediapersons that he would not wish to comment on his rival candidates. “My performance in the last decade, and the values my party and I hold on to are there for everyone to see,” said Tharoor, who too accused the NDA Government of heading in the wrong direction.
Kummanam’s entry has boosted the BJP camp’s morale. Rajagopal came second last time and could increase the party’s vote share to 32.37 pc. The 2,82,336 votes he polled was all-time high for any BJP candidate in the constituency. He established lead in Nemom, Vattiyoorkav, Kazhakkoottam and Thiruvananthapuram Assembly segments. Kummanam, who was the BJP state chief from 2015 to 2018, has already proven his mettle with a few electoral and political battles, the last being in the Assembly poll against Congress’ K Muraleedharan at Vattiyoorkavu, where he managed more than 43,000 votes, pushing CPM’s T N Seema to third position. Political analyst J Prabhash feels it will not be a cakewalk for Tharoor this time.
“In the backdrop of the Sabarimala issue and the solid stance taken by the NSS, coupled with Kummanam’s popular persona, there’s bound to be a sharp polarisation of upper- caste votes. Such a division of votes between Tharoor and Kummanam could work in Divakaran’s favour,” he said.
The CPM has its eye on minority votes, in addition to the support enjoyed by Divakaran. But there could be a migration of Left votes to Tharoor, if a general impression evolves that Kummanam might win. With all the three fronts locked in a do-or-die battle, last-minute undercurrents could turn crucial.
Pressure on KC(M) to end internal dissensions With the Left Democratic Front (LDF) taking an initial edge by wrapping up its candidates’ list for the Lok Sabha polls, pressure is mounting on Kerala Congress(M) to settle internal rumblings of discontent over its candidate for the Kottayam constituency.