Kannur, the stage of many a proverbial swing

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Going by poll history of three decades, nothing is predictable

The political substratum in Kannur district is predominantly tinged with red and the Communist party of India (Marxist) nurtures, justifiably, the claim that it is the party’s citadel that cannot be breached.

The Kannur Lok Sabha constituency is different though.

The history of general elections in the constituency over the past three decades shows to be true the perception that the distance between electoral victory and loss here is not difficult to traverse.

As CPI(M) Central committee member P.K. Sreemathy is seeking re-election in the constituency, her 2014 rival K. Sudhakaran, KPCC working president, is in the fray to wrest it from her. He lost the last election by a margin of 6,566 votes.

The 43,000-odd margin of votes by which the Congress strongman here had won the seat in 2009 turned out to be not too huge a hurdle for Ms. Sreemathy in 2014.

The prestige that the CPI(M) attaches to the constituency is not fully compatible with the poll history of the seat. Since 1984, the Congress had won the seat in six elections and the CPI(M), in three.

Hectic pace

The campaign road shows of Ms. Sreemathy and Mr. Sudhakaran have already taken the battle for ballots here to a hectic pace. While the LDF camp began the campaign with huge hoardings and posters flaunting developmental achievements, including the Kannur airport and facelift of the Kannur railway station, among others, the UDF camp’s major weapon in the campaign armoury is an appeal against political violence.

The murder of Youth Congress (YC) worker S.P. Shuhaib by alleged CPI(M) workers near Mattannur in February 2018 and the recent twin murders of Kripesh and Sarath Lal, YC workers, at Periye in Kasaragod, have lent a poignant touch to the UDF campaign.

Though senior BJP leader C.K. Padmanabhan is contesting here, the BJP occupies a distant third position here. The party polled 51,636 votes. The SDPI, which polled 19,000-odd votes in 2014, is also in the fray. If it can make a dent in the votes in IUML strongholds, it can have adverse impact on the UDF’s kitty.

Banking on numbers

The LDF calculation is that the Assembly election results in 2016 stands it in good stead. It won four of the seven Assembly segments — Taliparamba, Mattannur, Dharmadam, and Kannur — while the UDF retained Irikkur, Peravur, and Azhikode.

The LDF had a total victory margin of over one lakh in the seven segments. But the voting pattern in Lok Sabha election in the constituency invariably deviated from that in Assembly elections.

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