Show in last LS poll raises UDF’s hopes in the only SC-reserved segment in Kollam
Kovoor Kunjumon, the incumbent Kunnathur legislator, had vowed to protect Sasthamcotta freshwater lake before getting married. As the poll fever hots up, Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh has promised him a chance to tie the knot by breaching the Left fortress. And for Mr. Kunjumon, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (Leninist) leader who has been representing the Assembly segment for the past two decades, 2021 polls will be very crucial in more ways than one. Kunnathur, the only Assembly segment in the district reserved for the Scheduled Caste community, used to be a two-member constituency till 1965. It includes Sooranad North, Sooranad South, Poruvazhy, Kunnathur, West Kallada, Mynagappally and Sasthamcotta panchayats along with Munroe Thuruthu and East Kallada panchayats in Kollam taluk and Pavithreswaram panchayat in Kottarakara taluk. A land of cashew workers and farmers, Kunnathur has showed an evident Leftward tilt mostly.
A bit of history
Kunnathur had first chosen Communist Party of India candidates P.R. Madhava Pillai and R. Govindan in 1957 and after three years in 1960 G. Chandrasekharan Pillai of Congress and P.C. Adichan of the CPI were elected. It was T. Krishnan of Kerala Congress in 1965 and Independent candidate K.C.S. Sasthri in 1967.
In 1970, Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) entered the fray for the first time and their candidate Sathyapalan emerged victorious. Kallada Narayanan of the RSP was elected from Kunnathur for two consecutive terms in 1977 and 1980, but he could not hit a hat-trick as he lost to UDF candidate Kottakuzhi Sukumaran in 1982. T. Nanu of the RSP retained the seat in the next three elections and Kovoor Kunjumon won the seat defeating Congress candidate Pandalam Sudhakaran in 2001. Mr. Kunjumon was elected as RSP candidate twice more in 2006 and 2011, but in 2016 he contested and won as an Independent candidate.
Mr. Kunjumon formed RSP (L) after the RSP’s crossover to the UDF and defeated Ullas Kovoor, his cousin and the candidate of the official faction, in 2016. Ullas Kovoor was once again declared as the UDF candidate by the Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala during his Aishwarya Kerala Yatra. Mr. Kovoor has an early bird advantage when it comes to first round campaigning and the lead gained by the UDF candidate in Kunnathur in the last Lok Sabha polls leaves the front hopeful.
For the LDF, Mr. Kunjumon, a four-time MLA and one of the most popular leaders of the constituency, is a wise choice considering the bad blood between the front and the official faction of the RSP. Development will be the dominant point during the polls. While both fronts fancy their chances, the National Democratic Alliance will most likely field a strong BJP candidate as the party had recorded an increase in vote share during the local body elections.