ALAPPUZHA: Alappuzha, a Communist bastion, is set for another battle of ballots with all three candidates fielding strong candidates in all nine seats. From UDF, Congress has fielded eight candidates, including two sitting MLAs in Haripad and Aroor, while Kuttanad has been given to Kerala Congress (Joseph).
From LDF, CPM has fielded six candidates, including sitting MLAs in Chengannur and Kayamkulam. CPI has fielded one person each in Cherthala and Haripad, while in Kuttanad, NCP has fielded Thomas K Thomas, brother of former minister Thomas Chandy. From NDA, BJP is contesting in five seats and ally BDJS in four seats. When it came to power in the state in 2016, LDF almost swept the district, winning in eight out of nine constituencies. Only Haripad went to Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. However, in the 2019 byelection, necessitated after MLA A M Ariff became Alappuzha MP in the Lok Sabha elections the same year, UDF’s Shanimol Osman won from Aroor increasing UDF’s presence in the district.
At the same time, Alappuzha proved to be the only solace for LDF in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as it lost in the remaining 19 seats. The recent local body elections too saw a better performance by LDF when compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and also boosted the Left front’s confidence. The LDF’s implementation of the two-term condition, which saw three ministers from the district – T M Thomas Isaac, G Sudhakaran and P Thilothaman – pulling out of the race, came as a relief to UDF. Had the trio contested, the Congress-led front would have had to sweat it out more.
As for the NDA, it is facing the elections with more confidence and strong candidates. However, recent claims by RSS ideologue R Balashankar that there is a tacit understanding between CPM leaders and BJP state leadership have snowballed into a crisis and came as a setback for the front. Still, a strong triangular fight is unfolding in various constituencies.
As for issues, the backwardness faced by labourers in traditional sectors like coir, fisheries and fish processing and agriculture would be the main talking points in the elections. Though the government tried implementing several projects to effect improvements in the sectors, they are still facing issues.