Twists and turns of Alappuzha’s poll graph

When the CPI(M)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) returned to power in 2016, it was almost a clean sweep in Alappuzha district. It had won eight out of nine constituencies. Back then, the Haripad Assembly constituency offered the lone solace for the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), where Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala won by a comfortable margin.

Between 2016 and 2021, the political landscape of Alappuzha has witnessed many twists and turns. While the LDF retained the Chengannur seat in a byelection held in May 2018, the UDF wrested Aroor from the LDF in a bypoll held in October 2019. When the UDF wave swept the State in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency stood with the LDF. However, the UDF took lead in seven of the nine Assembly segments in the district.

In the recent local body polls, the LDF won big. But, the Assembly polls is a new ball game. The LDF, which is banking on the good works of the State government, is hoping to repeat the performance of 2016. The CPI(M) is set to contest from Aroor, Alappuzha, Ambalappuzha, Kayamkulam, Mavelikara (SC reserved) and Chengannur and the CPI from Cherthala and Haripad. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is likely to field Thomas K. Thomas, brother of former minister Thomas Chandy, from Kuttanad.

Of the sitting LDF MLAs, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman of the CPI may not contest the polls after winning three times from Cherthala. Although the CPI(M) has decided not to field those who had contested consecutively and won twice, the party district secretariat has sought relaxation in the norms to field Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac and Public Works Minister G. Sudhakaran, both sitting MLAs from Alappuzha and Ambalappuzha respectively.

The party has not taken a final call on fielding sitting MLAs U. Prathibha from Kayamkulam and R. Rajesh from Mavelikara. It is almost certain that the CPI(M) will field Saji Cherian, MLA, again from Chengannur. The CPI has prepared a list with multiple names for Cherthala and Haripad.

In the UDF, the only certainty is the sitting MLAs Ramesh Chennithala and Shanimol Usman of the Congress from Haripad and Aroor respectively. Of the nine seats, the Congress is likely to contest from eight. The Kuttanad seat may be given to the Kerala Congress (M) led by P.J. Joseph.

In the NDA, the BJP is likely to field candidates from Alappuzha, Ambalappuzha, Haripad, Chengannur and Mavelikara, while the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) will contest from Kayamkulam, Kuttanad, Cherthala and Aroor. With the emergence of the BJP, the district is set to witness triangular contest in a number of seats, especially in Chengannur.

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