KOCHI: Since its inception in 2011, the Vypeen assembly constituency -- previously Njarakkal -- has been a Left fortress with senior CPM leader S Sarma registering two consecutive victories. With Rahul Gandhi set to begin his campaigning in the state from the constituency on Monday, the Congress is preparing to take the fight to the LDF this time. Adding a buzz to the party’s campaign is a fresh face, Deepak Joy, a Youth Congress leader and a former Kochi corporation councillor.
In 2016, Sarma emerged victorious with a margin of 19,353 votes against Congress’ K R Subhash. Interestingly, Vypeen is the only constituency in the district which is witnessing a battle between debutants.
Besides a fresh face, UDF’s hopes rest on a lead of 23,241 votes garnered by Hibi Eden in the constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. In the local body elections, both fronts came to power in four grama panchayats each within the assembly constituency. CPM’s decision to replace Sarma with K N Unnikrishnan, a district secretariat member of the party, may have an impact on the prospects of the Left.The BJP has fielded its district secretary K Shyju after taking over the seat from its ally BDJS, which contested for the NDA last time.
Ezhava and Dheevara communities have a say in the quaint island located on the outskirts of Kochi city. Developmental issues are hot debates on the poll campaigns of the three fronts --the UDF, LDF and the NDA. Rahul Gandhi is the first star campaigner arriving in the constituency. He will address a meeting slated to be held at the Goshree junction.
Deepak Joy said the voters of Vypeen will exercise their franchise against the stagnation of development in the area. “During the 10 years under S Sarma, the constituency has fallen behind by 10 years in terms of development. The growth achieved by the neighbouring Ernakulam and Paravoor constituencies has not reached Vypeen,” he said.
According to CPM leaders, replacing Sarma will not affect the party’s prospects in any way. LDF district convener George Edapparathy said the presence of a youth candidate cannot bring about considerable change for the UDF. “Vypeen is a staunch LDF seat and the supporters are working collectively for the victory of our candidate,” he added. Apolitical outfits V4 Kerala and Twenty20 have also fielded candidates in the constituency.