Spotlight on bread and butter issues

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LDF has won 10 of the 15 Lok Sabha elections in Attingal

For a place that witnessed one of the first organised fight backs in the State against the English East India Company way back in 1721, Attingal has also been a stage to some close electoral contests with quite a few biggies falling.

While the Left Democratic Front (LDF) draws inspiration from the memories of how K. Anirudhan, current candidate A. Sampath’s father, defeated Congress strongman R. Shankar in 1967, the United Democratic Front (UDF) has Vayalar Ravi’s historic win in 1971 to look up to. Known as Chirayinkeezhu back then, it was the first time the Congress managed to win the seat, which has remained a stronghold of the Left which has won 10 of the 15 Lok Sabha elections.

Upper hand in Assembly

Mr. Sampath, a three-time MP, won by a margin of 69,378 votes against Bindu Krishna of the Congress in 2014. In the 2016 Assembly election, the LDF won six out of the seven Assembly segments in the Attingal constituency, except Aruvikkara.

This time around, Mr. Sampath is up against a formidable adversary in Adoor Prakash, Konni MLA.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has always been a minor player here.

But the reluctant arrival of Shobha Surendran is seen positively by the cadre, who think that her role in the Sabarimala protests will appeal to a section of the voters.

Religious and caste equations will come into play here where the Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam and the Nair Service Society have a strong presence, and several pockets having considerable population of minorities. All the fronts have been making overtures to the Sivagiri Madhom, with eyes on the Ezhava votes, but it has maintained equidistance mostly.

Mr. Sampath says his performance will speak for itself, dismissing claims of anti-incumbency. “Our aim is to bring down the BJP government and increase the Left presence in Parliament,” he says.

Both his opponents flag “lack of development” as an issue, with the long-pending Attingal bypass, the land acquisition for which began recently.

“While constituencies on both sides, including Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam, have made progress, Attingal has lagged far behind, be it in the case of highway or railway station,” says Varkala Kahar, general secretary, UDF campaign committee.

Projects for Sivagiri

P. Sudheer, campaign in-charge of the BJP, says the party will highlight the Central government’s projects for Sivagiri and its achievements in the past five years.

With a huge working class population, from estate workers in the hilly regions to coir workers and fish workers in the coastal regions, bread and butter issues could prove to be decisive in Attingal. The constituency has 13.19 lakh voters, with 7.05 lakh women and 6.14 lakh men.

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