Wayanad a status symbol for UDF

Wayanad district, with its three Assembly segments, may be the smallest district in the State. But it attained national prominence with the election of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The three constituencies in the district were UDF bastions till 2006 when the LDF made a clean sweep in the Assembly polls. While M.V. Shreyams Kumar of the LJD defeated K.K. Ramachandran of the Congress in the Kalpetta constituency, P. Krishnaprasad of the CPI(M) defeated N.D. Appachan of the Congress in Sulthan Bathery and K.C. Kunhiraman of the CPI(M) defeated P. Balan of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Mananthavady.

However, in the 2011 Assembly polls the UDF had won all the segments. This time, the LJD aligned with the UDF and Mr. Shreyams Kumar retained his position in Kalpetta segment. I.C. Balakrishnan and P.K. Jayalakshmi of the Congress won in Sulthan Bathery and Mananthavady segments respectively.

In the 2016 Assembly polls, the Congress won only Sulthan Bathery. I.C. Balakrishnan of the Congress defeated Rugmini Subrahmanyan of the CPI(M). O.R. Kelu and C.K. Saseendran of the CPI(M) defeated Ms. Jayalakshmi of the Congress and Shreymas Kumar of the LJD in Mananthavady and Kalpetta respectively.

When the UDF wave swept the State in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Mr. Gandhi won with a record margin of 4,31,770 votes from the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

However, in the recent local body polls too the UDF got an upper hand and it could win in 16 local bodies, including Kalpetta and Mananthavady municipalities.

Now, the resignation of prominent leaders ahead of the Assembly polls is rocking the Congress in the district. As many as three Congress leaders, including Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee secretary M.S. Viswanathan, resigned from the party in a week owing to discontent.

DCC general secretary P.K. Anil Kumar and Mahila Congress leader Sujaya Venugopal also resigned from the party. When Mr. Anil Kumar joined the LJD and Ms. Venugopal joined CPI(M).

Moreover, Mr. Viswanathan is likely to be the LDF candidate in Sulthan Bathery. He is likely to take on I.C. Balakrishnan, who is also the DCC president. Sitting MLA O.R. Kelu of the CPI(M) may take on P.K. Jayalakshmi at Mananthavady.

The name of candidates of both the fronts in Kalpetta segment is yet to be decided. Though the LDF allotted the segment to the LJD, Mr. Shreyamskumar had clarified that he would not contest this time.

Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) leader Thushar Vellapplly was the Lok Sabha candidate of the NDA, but this time the BJP district leadership had decided to put its own candidates in the three segments.

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