Today’s assembly bypolls, why Aruvikkara in Kerala is a crucial battle

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SRUTHI VIJAYAKRISHNAN

Today’s by-elections in Kerala’s Aruvikkara is likely to be one of the toughest ones in the recent history of by-polls.  The by- election in the Aruvikkara constituency in particularly was necessitated after death of the former Assembly speaker and veteran congress leader G. Kartikeyan on 7 March 2015.

Less than a year away from the next assembly elections, this battle assumes significance both for the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) and the main opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).  While the UDF has fielded Shabarinath, the son of late G.Kartikeyan as its candidate, LDF’s candidate is M.Vijayakumar, veteran leader of CPI (M), also a former assembly speaker.

Late G.Kartihkeyan held this constituency for 24 years ( known as Aryanad prior to delimitation) and had developed strong personal connections with the voters here. However, things may not be easy for the congress this time, as the UDF is facing a strong anti-incumbency factor. The ruling alliance is also facing the heat due to the series of scams involving several of its ministers.   By fielding 31-year-old Shabarinathan, the UDF is primarily looking to woo the youth voters.

The LDF candidate Shri M.Vijayakumar is a the 65 year old veteran Marxist leader, who’s had relatively clean image and the left alliance  is keen to take advantage of his corruption-free image. The party knows that anything less than a win will seriously affect their chances to return to power in the next assembly elections.

A rejuvenated BJP too is leaving no stone unturned with an eye to make a debut into Kerala assembly. Its candidate, the 86 year old Shri.O Rajagopal is a familiar face and was second in the Thiruvananthapuram during the last year’s last Loksabha election.  The BJP is hoping that Shri.Rajagopal stands a chance to win as secular votes may be divided between the LDF and the UDF.

The Election Commission had also announced bypolls to five other assembly constituencies in four other states. Besides Aruvikkara, by-elections would be held in RK Nagar (Tamil Nadu), Chokpot (Meghalaya),  Pratapgarh and Surma (Tripura) and Garoth (Madhya Pradesh) on June 27.

RK Nagar is very important among all five bypolls as the chief minister J Jayalalitha is contesting from here after getting acquitted in the disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court.

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