Kerala polls: It is CM Pinarayi Vijayan vs others in Dharmadam Lekshmi Gopalakrishnan

·4-min read

Kannur (Ker), Apr 2 (PTI): Some high-profile segments are like that only.

Nobody is bothered about the poll results there but only about the victory margin gained by the VIP candidate against his/her rivals.

Dharmadam, the home turf of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the politically volatile northern Kannur district, is also one such constituency in poll-bound Kerala, where the election result seems to be too predictable.

But, that does not dent the spirit and vigour of the high voltage campaign in the constituency, where the opposition Congress-led UDF and the BJP-NDA are all attempting to upset the ruling LDF's applecart this time.

The saffron party is fielding its senior leader C K Padmanabhan to take on the Chief Minister but the Congress has been facing flak for fielding a comparatively weaker candidate against a titan like Vijayan.

The party leadership's attempt to field K Sudhakaran, a heavyweight leader and an arch critic of Vijayan, from the segment did not materialise as he was not ready to take up the challenge at the last minute, which resulted in C Raghunath, the general secretary of the Kannur DCC, getting the seat.

A bastion of the Marxist Communist party, Dharmadam Assembly constituency is spread across seven village panchayats- Anjarakkandy, Chembilode, Kadambur, Muzhappilangad, Peralasseri, Dharmadam, Pinarayi and Vengand.

Once known for the century-old Brennan College, picturesque island and the country's premier circus academy, Dharmadam these days finds place in the news more as the Chief Minister's constituency.

Life-size cut-outs and huge posters of Pinarayi Vijayan, a tough administrator and a hardline Marxist, would welcome you in every nook and cranny of the segment.

Despite being busy touring the length and breadth of the state to campaign for other candidates, Vijayan has been ensuring his presence in his home turf also at regular intervals ever since the election dates were announced.

Even in his absence, Left cadres are trying all modes of campaigning from vehicle rallies to street corner and family meetings across the constituency to reach out to the maximum number of voters.

In his absence, they even take video walls in vehicles to every street and show the speeches of the Chief Minister or short movies explaining the development programmes implemented by him in the constituency.

A confident Vijayan said at a recent election meeting here that people should give a second term for his government to continue the development and welfare measures being implemented.

'I appeal to everyone to vote for the LDF. It is important to retain Kerala as a secular state and for its overall development,' the Chief Minister said.

Meanwhile, Padmanabhan, the saffron party nominee, said people of the constituency badly need a change from the Marxist party rule but they prefer to remain silent in public due to the fear unleashed by them.

He raises several allegations from the Sprinkler deal and deep sea fishing pact to gold smuggling scandal against the LDF government and Vijayan and urges voters not to give a second term for the Left front.

'The Narendra Modi government at the Centre vows to build a new country without corruption and development in all fronts. I seek vote for that change,' he said.

BJP national chief J P Nadda recently flew down here to campaign for CKP, as Padmanabhan is popularly known among his followers, giving a boost to the party cadres.

Raghunath, the UDF nominee seems to be not bothered about the criticism by the political opponents that he is a weak candidate against Vijayan.

He said the strength of his and the party would be revealed through his performance in the April 6 polls.

Criticising Vijayan for doing nothing for the development of the Assembly segment, Raghunath also said unlike the Chief Minister, he would always be available for people in the constituency if won.

Besides the mainstream candidates, the mother of the Walayar sisters, the minor girls who were found hanging in their hut under mysterious circumstances in 2017, is also contesting from Dharamadam to give a symbolic fight to Pinarayi Vijayan.

According to figures, Vijayan had garnered 87,329 votes, 56.62 per cent of the total votes polled, against his nearest rival Mambaram Divakaran of Congress who could win only 50,424 votes during the 2016 Assembly polls.

BJP's Mohanan Mananthery could only manage over 12,000 votes only in the segment in the previous elections.PTI LGKSS PTI PTI