CPI(M) bent on a tough fight in Ernakulam

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Cong. has always tried to balance caste, community equations

Ernakulam has never been a sure bet for the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Parliament and Assembly elections. Barring a few occasions, Ernakulam has always gone the United Democratic Front (UDF) way.

A CPI(M) candidate had won the election in the party symbol in 1967. The LDF took advantage of the inner wrangling in the Congress to get its Independent candidates elected in 1996 and 2004.

A CPI(M) candidate had given jitters to the Congress in 2009 when the then SFI leader Sindhu Joy polled 3,31,055 votes against 3,42,845 votes of K.V. Thomas of the Congress.

However, the last election saw Prof. Thomas registering a nearly eight-fold increase in his victory margin when he defeated LDF-backed Independent Christy Fernandez by 87,047 votes.

This time around, right from the selection of candidate to the early launch of the campaign, the CPI(M) has taken the electioneering in the constituency quite seriously.

The party has fielded its rising star P. Rajeev, a two-time Rajya Sabha member and its State secretariat member, to rescript the poll history of the constituency. An uphill task awaits Mr. Rajeev as the Congress has replaced its sitting MP, Prof. Thomas, with its popular face and sitting Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden.

Though the confusion in the Congress camp over the selection of candidate had given an early edge to the LDF, the party caught up with its political rival and made its presence felt through systematic electioneering.

The BJP has never been of any threat to the key contestants in the constituency. Though a new face in the electoral scene of Ernakulam, National Democratic Alliance candidate and Union Minister K.J. Alphons has actively begun his campaign.

Over the years, the Congress has always tried to mend the caste and community equations in the constituency while selecting candidates.

The Latin Catholic community, though not the single largest Christian denomination in the constituency, always had its nominees on the list of candidates. The Congress has done it again. Now, the challenge before the LDF is to win over the confidence of the community, along with the other segments of the 12,09,440 voters of the constituency to etch its name in history.

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