Even though the outcome of the five Kerala assembly by-polls is not going to make any difference to the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left government, as it has at present 91 seats in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, this could well be the harbinger of the upcoming polls – local body – next year and the 2021 assembly polls.
With the campaign entering the last phase as the polls will be held on Monday, the three political fronts are hoping against hope that, all of them will have something to cheer, when votes will be counted.
After the shock defeat of the UDF candidate at the Pala Assembly by-election, last month, the Congress-led UDF camp had turned jittery, as out of the five that goes to the polls, four of them are presently held by the UDF and the CPI-M , holds one seat.
While four seats fell vacant after sitting legislators won the Lok Sabha polls, at Manjeswaram constituency, sitting UDF legislator of the Indian Union Muslim League passed away.
As things stand now, the contest at Ernakulam seat, which is a stronghold of the Congress party for several years, it continues to hold that dominance as its candidate T.J. Vinod is sitting pretty, with the Left-backed independent candidate Manu Roy, a practising advocate by profession, is doing its best to alter things.
At Manjeswaram, the northern most assembly constituency in the state, for the past few elections, it has been a direct fight between the Congress and the BJP.
At the 2016 assembly polls, the BJP leader K. Surendran, lost by a margin of just 89 votes to the IUML candidate P.B. Abdul Razack and this time too the fight is a direct one between these two parties and at the moment, IUML’s Kasargode district President M C Kamarudheen appears to have the edge and is ahead of BJP leader Ravisha Tantri Kuntar while CPI-M nominee Shankar Rai is also doing his best to make it a triangular one.
At Aroor constituency in Alappuzha, the fight is a direct one between the Congress candidate Shanimol Usman, who lost the recent Lok Sabha polls to sitting Aroor legislator and CPI-M leader A.M. Arif.
Here the CPI-M has fielded a local youth leader Manu C. Pulickal and for the CPI-M this is a prestigious fight, as Usman at the Lok Sabha polls had got the better off of Arif by 648 votes and it turned out to be a shocker for the CPI-M, as Arif had won this seat at the 2016 assembly polls by a staggering margin of over 38,000 votes.
Coming to the Vatiyoorkavu seat in the state capital, it’s a battle royal that’s currently on after the CPI-M brought in young Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V.K. Prasanth turning the poll battle into an exciting triangular contest, with the Congress fielding a former legislator K.Mohankumar and the BJP its District President S. Suresh.
The scene is no different at the Konni constituency, which has been the domain of now Lok Sabha member Adoor Prakash for the past 23 years and with the entry of Surendran of the BJP and the fielding of young local boy K.U. Jenish, it has become alive.
For Vijayan, the outcome could well be a decider and if he manages to retain Aroor, and wrest Vatiyoorkavu, he could well be on the road for more success in the upcoming local body polls, where the Left already has a strong grip.
If by any chance, things do not go Vijayan’s way, his position could well take a beating, even though he through his indomitable style managed to hold on despite winning just one of the 20 Lok Sabha seats.