Daijiworld Media Network - Kasargod
Kasargod, Apr 21: Soon after voting concluded in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituencies, political leaders and polling analysts of coastal districts shifted their attention towards Shivamogga and Kasargod constituencies where polling for the Lok Sabha elections will be held on Tuesday, April 23.
Congress and BJP leaders Dakshina Kannada are campaigning for their respective party candidates in Kasargod. U T Khader, Ivan D Souza, Shakunthala Shetty, Nalin Kumar Kateel, Sanjeev Matandoor are a few leaders who have been campaigning in Kasargod.
Since 1989, the candidates of Communist Party of India (Marxist) are representing Kasargod in Lok Sabha. P Karunakaran who completed his three terms as MP gave up his seat for a new face. K P Satheesh Chandran, the CPI(M) district leader and former MLA and a well accepted face is the candidate of Left Democratic Front (LDF) while the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has fielded Rajmohan Unnithan, party state leader and spokesperson as their candidate. Ravisha Tantri Kuntar, a religious as well as social face in the northern part of the Kerala district, is the NDA candidate in Kasargod.
K P Satheesh Chandran (LDF)
Rajmohan Unnithan (UDF)
Ravish Tantri Kuntar (BJP)
In the initial phase, Congress decided to highlight the Periya double murder hoping that it would bring political gains. Two Youth Congress workers were killed by a gang in February and later the investigation revealed that the killers belonged to a political party. But after the declaration of K P Satheesh Chandran's name as CPI (M) candidate, Congress decided to change its campaign strategy.
On the other hand, inner conflicts within the Congress for the seat have become a headache for the party. Finally after the intervention of its state committee, Rajmohan Unnithan was declared as the candidate.
While the fight in the constituency is mainly between CPI (M) and Congress, NDA decided to campaign highlighting its Hindutva policy and Ravisha Tantri who was in the race for the ticket for legislative Assembly elections in Puttur constituency last year was named as the MP candidate.
The current scenario in Kasargod has LDF and UDF as the major powers and a close fight is predicted. In 2004, P Karunakaran won the constituency with a whopping margin of 1,08,256 votes. In 2009, the votes slightly decreased and he defeated UDF candidate with a margin of 64,427 votes. But in the election of 2014, the UDF candidate Adv T Siddique managed to cut down a majority of P Karunakaran’s support, though Karunakaran won by a meagre margin of 6,921 votes. UDF is hoping on the previous year’s figures and hopes a little bit of hard work would put an end to the 30-year representation of LDF.
But in LDF camp there is no fear of defeat. According to them, the declaration of the name of their candidate itself has brought victory for them. Their party workers have already completed six rounds of house visits and three rounds of family gatherings.
"Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency contains seven legislative assembly constituencies. At the time of last MLA election, Manjeshwar and Kasargod constituencies stood with UDF and BJP succeeded to secure second place. In Uduma neck and neck fight happened between LDF and UDF while BJP was washed out from the picture. From Kanhangad to Kalliasseri, UDF is behind though they succeeded to give a healthy fight to LDF. So victory is ours only. It is LDF belt and UDF cannot beat us here," says Rajgopal, a local CPI(M) leader .
In 15 elections which was held in past, LDF won Kasargod constituency 12 times. UDF only succeeded to win in 1971, 1977 and 1984. Kadannappalli Ramachandran and I Rama Rai are the only two UDF candidates to represent the district in parliament .
Now LDF has a strong belief that K P Satheesh Chandran, a native of the constituency and well accepted leader will bring victory to their camp. Apart from that, they have full confidence on their traditional votes and cadre system in campaigning. At the same time, UDF believes in their firebrand leader Rajmohan Unnithan, who is good public speaker and defender. Congress is also hoping the Sabarimala issue, Periya double murder will become a political gain. Meanwhile, NDA in its strategy is focusing on the Kannada speaking voters at the district border.
Last election result
Total voters: 12,40,463
Votes polled: 9,73,592
Polling percentage: 78.48%
P Karunakaran (CPIM): 3,84,964 votes
Adv T Siddique (Congress-I): 3,78,043 votes
K Surendran (BJP): 1,72,816
Ambalathara Krishnan (Aam Aadmi): 4,996