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Chalakudy throws up new challenges

K. Santhosh


Kaipamangalam is an Assembly constituency

Mala, Vadakkekkara cease to be Assembly segments


Thrissur: The newly-formed Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency will present new challenges and opportunities to political fronts in the next parliamentary elections.

Carved out of the former Mukundapuram Lok Sabha constituency, Chalakudy comprises three Assembly segments in Thrissur district (Kaipamangalam, Chalakudy and Kodungallur) and four in Ernakulam district (Perumbavoor, Angamaly, Aluva and Kunnathunad). Kaipamangalam is a newly-constituted Assembly constituency comprising Edavilangu, Edathiruthy, Eriyad, Kaipamangalam, Mathilakam, Perinjanam and Sreenarayanapuram panchayats.

Irinjalakuda, Mala and Vadakkekkara of former Mukundapuram have been excluded from the Chalakudy parliamentary constituency. Mala and Vadakkekkara cease to be Assembly segments, and Irinjalakuda has been

shifted to the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency.

Mukundapuram had invariably been a right-wing stronghold.

In the past 14 Lok Sabha elections, Left or Left-backed candidates had won from the constituency only thrice — in 1957+, 1980 and 2004. Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate E. Balanandan won the seat in 1980 with the support of the A.K. Antony faction of the Congress.

In 2004, Lonappan Nambadan, a Left-supported Independent candidate, defeated Padmaja Venugopal of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

Mukundapuram had decided the political fortunes of heavyweights such as Panampilly Govinda Menon, A.C. George and K. Karunakaran.

Aluva, Perumbavoor and Kunnathunad are UDF-inclined. Angamaly had elected Left candidates in 1967, 1970, 1977, 1980 and 2006, and right-wingers in 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996 and 2001. The presence of a large number of Christian voters in these four constituencies has helped the UDF.

Chalakudy too is a UDF stronghold, with the Congress winning the seat in eight of the past 15 Assembly elections.

The Praja Socialist Party, a coalition partner of the Congress, won from the constituency in 1960.

In contrast, Kodungallur is a Communist citadel. The past 15 Assembly elections saw the Communist Party of India winning from the constituency 10 times. The newly-formed Kaipamangalam, covering a part of Kodungallur taluk, too is Left-oriented.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) executive member T.U. Radhakrishnan said the UDF would enjoy a decided advantage in Chalakudy in the next parliamentary elections.

“Kaipamangalam and Kodungallur are the only constituencies where the UDF has to work hard. Distrust towards the LDF is deepening in the State. This will help the UDF. Besides, one should know that national issues, more than State affairs, influence parliamentary polls,” he added.

CPI(M) leader C.O. Poulose contended that traditional notions of voting patterns on the basis of communal factors were no longer valid. “Elections are fought on political issues. Take the case of the 2006 polls. With a strong anti-UDF wave, the front lost even its so-called strongholds,” he said.

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