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LDF launches election campaign in Kannur

Special Correspondent

Chief Minister scheduled to visit district tomorrow

Head start: With the LDF gearing up for its election conventions in three constituencies on Monday, CPI(M) activists in Kannur are busy spreading their party's cause.

KANNUR: The Left Democratic Front (LDF) election campaign is under way in many of the Assembly constituencies in the district with its candidates entering the first phase of electioneering in right earnest even as the election scene is yet to pick up steam since the candidate list of the United Democratci Front (UDF) is yet to be announced in full.

An early start in the campaign front may not guarantee favourable outcome for a candidate, but it always gives enough time to bring the campaign machinery on track before their rivals plunge into the scene. And the LDF, especially the Communist Party of India(Marxist), is all set to make maximum use of this fact.

The campaign of Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, contesting from Thalassery, was formally launched with an LDF election convention in the constituency on Sunday. Taliparamba, where CPI(M) candidate James Mathew is in the fray, and Dharmadam, where the CPI(M) has fielded former district panchayat president K.K. Narayanan, also had their election conventions on Sunday.

Devaswom Minister and Congress(S) president Kadannappally Ramachandran has already started his campaign in the Kannur constituency. He is touring different parts of the constituency to meet as many people as possible to seek votes. The LDF election convention in the constituency will be held on March 21. Similarly, Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) State secretary T.V. Rajesh, who is contesting in the Kalliassery constituency, and sitting MLA K.K. Shylaja seeking re-election in the Peravur constituency have also started the first phase of their election campaigns. The LDF convention in these constituencies will also be held on March 21.

CPI(M) central committee member E.P. Jayarajan, who is contesting in the newly-formed Mattannur constituency, has also launched his campaign. Mr. Jayarajan, who reached Mattannur on March 19, met prominent people in the constituency as part of his campaign. Two public functions organised by the party on Saturday turned out to be the launch of his electioneering in the constituency.

Hot seat

The only constituency in the district where the battle lines are already drawn is Azhikode. Sitting MLA M. Prakashan is pitted against Indian Union Muslim League candidate and Muslim Youth League leader K.M. Shaji in what is predicted to be a no-holds-barred political war as both the LDF and the UDF entertain hopes of winning from there. While Mr. Prakashan has the advantage of being a sitting MLA and a native of the constituency, Mr. Shaji is also hopeful of capturing the re-drawn constituency where the UDF has sizeable strength.

Protests within the local unit of the CPI(M) against the denial of the ticket to sitting MLA C.K.P. Padmanabhan in the Taliparamba constituency was the only minor irritant to the otherwise trouble-free selection of party candidates in the district. The initial protest has, however, fizzled out when the district leadership put its foot down. The campaign for Mr. Mathew, the CPI(M) candidate, formally began here with the LDF election convention on Sunday. When contacted, Mr. Mathew said he had just started the first phase of his visits to meet voters. It would take a few more days for the campaign to be in full swing, he added.

Election temperature in the district is expected to rise in the coming days when political leaders start their whirlwind tours of different constituencies. With Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan's scheduled visit to the district on March 22, the campaign is expected to reach a fever pitch in the district.

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