Kerala Assembly Election 2021: Key candidates and battlegrounds in God's own country

Kerala Assembly Election 2021: Key candidates and battlegrounds in God's own country

Nemom in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram is often referred to as the ‘Gujarat of Kerala’.

Politics in Kerala has traditionally been dominated by the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

The two parties are facing each other once again for the 2021 Assembly election with the LDF being a clear favourite to return to power. On the other hand, the BJP is hoping to increase its tally in the polls.

In the 2016 assembly elections, the LDF had won 91 seats, defeating the UDF, which could only secure 47 seats in the election. The BJP won from Nemom seat.

Elections for the 140-member Kerala Assembly will be held on April 6. The counting of votes will take place on May 2.

Dharmadam: Pinarayi Vijayan vs C K Padmanabhan vs C Raghunath

Located in the politically volatile northern Kannur district, Dharmadam is the home turf of Pinarayi Vijayan and is witnessing a triangular contest between the Chief Minister, BJP’s C K Padmanabhan, and C Raghunath from Congress.

The grand old party wanted to field Kannur MP K Sudhakaran, an arch critic of Vijayan, from the high-profile seat but the plan did not materialise as the former was not ready to take up the challenge.

Now, the Congress is facing flak for fielding general secretary of Kannur District Congress Committee C Raghunath who is considered a weakling compared to Vijayan.

A bastion of the Marxist Communist Party, Vijayan garnered 87,329 votes in the 2016 Assembly polls while his rival Mambaram Divakaran of Congress could only secure 50,424 votes. BJP candidate Mohanan Mananthery could only manage over 12,000 votes.

The BJP-led NDA and the Congress-led UDF are all trying to make things hard for Vijayan in 2021 polls but given the CM’s clout in this constituency, it is highly unlikely that they will breach the Left fortress.

Manjeshwaram: AKM Ashraf vs K Surendran vs VV Rameshan

A stronghold of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the Manjeshwaram assembly constituency is an important constituency for the BJP to make inroads into the state.

The saffron party has fielded Kerala state president K Surendran from Manjeshwaram, while the IUML has given a ticket to AKM Ashraf. The CPI(M) is banking on Manjeswaram district committee member VV Ramesan.

In the 2016 election, BJP’s K Surendran lost to IUML’s Abdul Razak by a mere 89 votes.

Surendran is one of the strongest candidates from the BJP and is also contesting from Konni, the epicenter of the Sabarimala agitation.

The IUML has huge support in this constituency with Muslims backing the party in all the polls. On the other hand, Hindu votes get divided as many vote for the BJP and the CPI(M). This division of votes is a serious cause of concern for the saffron party.

Meanwhile, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), a political offshoot of Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), will support the Congress-led UDF in the Manjeswaram Assembly seat.

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Kazhakuttam: Kadakampally Surendran vs Sobha Surendran vs Dr. SS Lal

BJP has fielded Sobha Surendran from the Kazhakuttom assembly constituency in Thiruvananthapuram while Congress has fielded Dr. SS Lal from the constituency.

CPI(M)’s Kadakampally Surendran is seeking re-election from this seat.

Sabarimala issue will take center-stage in this important constituency as the saffron party came second in this seat in the 2016 assembly election.

Mattanur: KK Shailaja vs Illikkal Agasthy vs Biju Elakkuzhi

Located in the Kannur district of Kerala, Mattannur will go to poll on April 6, 2021.

CPI(M) leader and Minister of Health KK Shailaja is contesting from this seat.

Revolutionary Socialist Party of Kerala (Bolshevik) has fielded Illikkal Agasthy from the segment while the BJP has given the ticket to Biju Elakkuzhi.

In 2016, CPI(M) leader EP Jayarajan won the seat by defeating KP Prasanth from Janata Dal (United) with a margin of 43,381 votes.

Puthuppally: Oommen Chandy vs Jaick C. Thomas vs N Hari

Key candidates contesting in the 2021 Assembly elections from the Puthuppally constituency are Oommen Chandy of Congress, Jaick C. Thomas of CPI(M), and N Hari of BJP.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, Chandy won from this seat beating Jaick C Thomas of CPM by a margin of 27,092 votes.

The 77-year-old veteran Congress leader is among the top contenders to be the chief minister if the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) gets a majority in the Kerala polls.

Chittur: K Krishnankutty vs Sumesh Achuthan vs V. Natesan

Janata Dal (Secular) leader and Kerala state president K. Krishnankutty is seeking re-election from this constituency while Congress has fielded Sumesh Achuthan from the seat. The saffron party is banking on V. Natesan.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, Krishnankutty had won from this seat beating K Achuthan of Congress by a margin of 7,285 votes.

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Palakkad: E Sreedharan vs CP Pramod vs Shafi Parambil

CP Pramod from CPI(M), Shafi Parambil of Congress, and Metroman E. Sreedharan of BJP are key candidates contesting from Palakkad in the 2021 assembly polls.

In 2016, Shafi Parambil had defeated BJP’s Sobha Surendran by a margin of 17,483 votes.

With Sreedharan’s entry, the BJP is confident of a victory from this seat.

There are around 25,000 voters belonging to the Brahmin community in the constituency and the saffron party is banking on them.

Nemom: Kummanam Rajasekharan vs V Sivankutty vs K Muraleedharan

This suburb in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram is often referred to as the ‘Gujarat of Kerala’. The BJP had won this seat in the 2016 Assembly elections.

This time the saffron party has fielded former Mizoram governor and senior party leader Kummanam Rajasekharan, CPI(M) has given the ticket to its old guard, V Sivankutty while the Congress has fielded sitting MP K Muraleedharan from the high-profile seat.

One of the keenly watched constituencies in Kerala, BJP’s O Rajagopal defeated sitting MLA and CPI(M) leader V Sivankutty from this seat in 2016.

While Rajagopal bagged 47.46 per cent of the polled votes, Sivankutty got 41.39 per cent while JD(U)’s V Surendran Pillai got only 9.7 per cent votes.

Haripad: Ramesh Chennithala vs R Sajilal vs K. Soman

Haripad is witnessing a triangular contest between R. Sajilal of CPI, Ramesh Chennithala from Congress, and BJP’s K. Soman.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, Chennithala had won from this seat by beating P.Prasad of CPI by a margin of 18,621 votes.

For Chennithala, this assembly election is a do-or-die affair and a victory from Haripad will catapult him to the chief ministerial if the UDF comes to power in Kerala.

Irinjalakuda: R. Bindu vs Thomas Unniyadan vs Jacob Thomas

R. Bindu of CPI(M), Jacob Thomas of BJP, and Thomas Unniyadan of KC(J) are the key candidates contesting in the 2021 Assembly elections from the Irinjalakuda constituency.

Known for his clean image and actions against corrupt officials and prominent politicians, the BJP is banking on former DGP’s badge of honesty.

In a career spanning 35 long years, Thomas was an eyesore for the ruling LDF government and the Congress-led UDF as well.

In the 2016 Assembly elections, KU Arunan of CPM won from this seat beating Thomas Unniyadan of KECM by a margin of 2,711 votes.

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