Reserved for Scheduled Castes, the Attingal constituency is poised to witness a spirited three-cornered contest between LDF, UDF and NDA
Attingal gifted a win by a wide margin for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the last Assembly elections, yet the shifting fortunes in the various polls since then have led to the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Front (NDA) fancy their chances. This is evident in the spirited campaigning put up by the fronts over the past few days.
CPI(M) candidate O.S. Ambika spent the early part of Saturday meeting people in a few colonies near Kilimanoor. The lone woman candidate of the LDF in the district, the 54-year old CPI(M) Attingal area committee member is a familiar face in some parts of the constituency, having served as the president of Mudakkal grama panchayat and now in her second term as the president of the Chirayinkeezh block panchayat.
"Development is the main campaign issue for us, with the LDF government’s achievements in the health, education and social welfare sectors creating a positive impact. We could sense this in the people’s response during the campaigning. In our estimate, the government’s performance will only help us in increasing our majority. The fight here is between the LDF and the UDF," Ms. Ambika tells The Hindu.
Over to ally
Just like in the previous election, the UDF has given the seat to its ally Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), which has fielded A. Sreedharan, who was earlier with the CPI. He likes to project himself more as a social activist than as a politician, mentioning his interventions in various public issues. On Saturday, he chose to focus on the Attingal municipality area, which had witnessed an erosion in UDF votes in the recent local body polls.
The UDF candidate in Attingal A. Sreedharan seeking votes. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
"In the receptions over the past few days, I have been listening to complaints from various sections. Scarcity of drinking water is a major issue. After the UDF won the Attingal Lok Sabha constituency, there is a general impression that we need a UDF MLA as well to seamlessly implement developmental activities. This should aid us. The confidence the LDF possessed initially, does not exist any more," says Mr. Sreedharan, an office-bearer of the Sidhanar Mahasabha.
The NDA candidate P. Sudheer, the incumbent state general secretary of the BJP, had made his way up through the party’s youth organisations and was also the former state president of the BJP SC/ST morcha. On the penultimate day of campaigning, he led a roadshow in Vakkom panchayat.
The NDA candidate in Attingal P. Sudheer. seeking votes. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement
"The LDF and the UDF have won from this constituency several times, but development never reached any where. It is one of the most backward constituencies in this region. The utilisation of MP and MLA funds are very low. Attingal and Kilimanoor, the two major towns here, are in a state of neglect. So are the colonies. We are also raising Sabarimala as a key issue, as a CPI(M) win would lead to further violation of traditions at the temple," says Mr. Sudheer.
Point of discussion
In the seat reserved for Scheduled Castes, the issues faced by the people living in the around 200 SC/ST colonies spread out across the constituency is a key point of discussion this elections, with all the three candidates mentioning it.
The work on the Attingal bypass, which took off last year after a long delay, is also something the three fronts would like to add to their accounts. While the LDF government points to the efforts for land acquisition taken by the LDF-led Attingal municipality and the State government, the UDF credits Adoor Prakash MP for his interventions, and the BJP gives credit to the Centre for speeding up the project.
Results of last year’s local body elections are a confidence-booster for the LDF, while the 2019 Lok Sabha elections lend the same to the UDF and the NDA camps.
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