LDF looking to breach UDF fort

Parties working overtime to take their campaign to the voters in Ernakulam

Can a political novice upset the political ambitions of a Congress leader to re-script the electoral history of Ernakulam?

As the Ernakulam Assembly segment goes to bypolls on October 21, political circles are abuzz with the question whether the LDF will be able to win back the trust of the voters in the constituency, which had long been considered as the citadel of the UDF.

The LDF, which has been trying to realign itself in the constituency after being decimated in the Parliament election, has fielded Manu Roy, a practising lawyer and a late entrant into the political arena, to take on T.J. Vinod, the Deputy Mayor of Kochi, who had been active in the electoral politics of Ernakulam for nearly a quarter century. Mr. Vinod had been a permanent face in the Kochi Corporation council in various capacities for the past 24 years. Of late, he had also been holding the additional organisational responsibility of the president of the District Congress Committee. Mr. Roy, who had been active in the social service sector besides his court practice, will have to sweat it out to represent the constituency in the State Assembly as he will have to face an upbeat Congress-led UDF in the city constituency.

The 2019 Parliament election saw the Congress improving its performance in the constituency by over 10,000 votes than the 2016 legislative Assembly polls. In 2016 Assembly polls, Hibi Eden emerged victorious by a margin of over 21,000, though with a lesser margin when compared to his 2011 performance when he first contested the Assembly polls.

However, when Mr. Eden shifted to national politics and contested the last Parliament election, he secured a margin of over 31,000 votes from the constituency. The Parliament election also witnessed the UDF candidate securing over 50% votes and winning by a record margin of 1,63,514 lakh votes.

It would be the increased vote share and margin of the Congress candidate in the constituency that would be the biggest challenge before the LDF candidate as its poll managers are working overtime to take their campaign to the voters.

Interestingly, the LDF too picked up its candidate from the Latin Catholic community this time as the community leaders had harboured a sentiment that the front ignored the community while picking its candidates for the last Assembly and Parliament elections.

LDF won twice

The LDF could win the constituency twice when the electorate preferred M.K. Sanoo in 1987 and Sebastian Paul in 1998 to their political rivals.

The BJP is trying its luck in the constituency by fielding C.G. Rajagopal, whom it had fielded in 2011 too. The party’s focus will be to improve its vote share in the constituency where its best performance was in 2019 Parliament election. During the election, the party won around 18,000 votes in the constituency through its candidate K.J. Alphons.

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