Lok Sabha Elections 2024: A peek at Kerala's 20 constituencies ahead of voting day

Image: Manorama

With the conclusion of the Lok Sabha election campaign in Kerala today, the spotlight now shifts to the voters of the 20 constituencies in the State. From Thiruvananthapuram's intense triangular battle to the nuanced dynamics in Ernakulam and Chalakudy, each constituency presents its own set of challenges and opportunities for the competing political factions. Let's delve into the intricate political landscape of Kerala as the state braces for the upcoming elections.

Shashi Tharoor, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Pannyan Raveendran. Photo: Manorama

A victory margin of one lakh votes twice, interventions in development projects including Vizhinjam, a global citizen image- UDF candidate Shashi Tharoor had enough to be confident about this Lok Sabha elections. BJP, which came second in the constituency the last two elections, fielded Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar to challenge Tharoor. However, LDF believes that CPI leader Pannyan Ravindran is acceptable among the common people. UDF believes that anti-government sentiment is higher in Thiruvananthapuram and that it will help its chances in the constituency.
Read Know your candidate: When Tharoor takes on tycoon in Thiruvananthapuram 

Adoor Prakash, V Muraleedharan, V Joy. Photo: Manorama

UDF believes that Adoor Prakash's activities in the constituency and anti-government sentiment will help the front secure a win in Attingal. Meanwhile, LDF hopes to capitalise the strength of its organisational structure, particularly since CPM district secretary and Varkala MLA V Joy is contesting. Joy is a resident of the constituency. In the constituency where BJP won 25% of the votes last time, it is crucial to see which front will be affected if Union Minister V Muraleedharan gains more votes.

As national and state issues were highlighted elsewhere, the campaign in Kollam surrounded the persona of sitting UDF MP NK Premachandran. CPM is in the final test to win back the constituency by putting actor Mukesh, also a sitting MLA, at the forefront. However, BJP's efforts to increase the vote percentage by bringing in another film actor, G Krishnakumar, need not pay fruit.
Read: Know Your Candidate: Performer of a different kind takes on two screen performers in Kollam. 

Kodikkunnil Suresh, CA Arunkumar, Baiju Kalashala

Will Kodikkunnil Suresh, the experienced candidate, or CA Arunkumar, the fresh face win in Mavelikkara? While LDF senses a strong desire for change in the constituency, UDF expects Suresh's experience to come in handy in this competitive arena. Baiju Kalashala, formerly with Congress, has joined BDJS to fight the battle for the NDA in the constituency.

Anto Antony, thomas Isaac, Anil Antony. Photo: Manorama

Though the entry of senior CPM leader Thomas Isaac from the LDF sparked an exciting contest in the first phase, UDF's sitting MP Anto Antony gained momentum in the second leg of the campaign. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself sought votes for NDA candidate Anil Antony. However, after Priyanka Gandhi's campaign, UDF's confidence surged.
Read Know Your Candidate: Sitting MP takes on ED's prey and Modi's pick in Pathanamthitta

AM Ariff, KC Venugopal, Sobha Surendran. Photo: Manorama

UDF's courage in Alappuzha is centred around the initials 'KC'. The LDF, on the other hand expects AM Ariff who secured a win even amidst UDF's sweeping victory in 2019, to retain the seat. Meanwhile, BJP's Shobha Surendran arrives in Alappuzha with the promise of a Union Minister from the constituency. The votes secured by her will influence the final results.

Thomas Chazhikadan, Francis George, Thushar Vellappally. Photo: Manorama

The Kottayam constituency will witness a test of the splintered Kerala Congress groups this April 26. The prediction of a sure victory for Francis George by different surveys lends confidence to the UDF. There is a strong concern in the Left Front that NDA candidate Thushar Vellappally will siphon their votes. CPM wants to ensure that its votebank remains intact.

Dean Kuriakose, Joyce George, Sangeetha Viswanathan. Photo: Manorama

Though candidate selection and early campaigning helped LDF in Idukki, not much has favored Joyce George since. Wild animal attacks and fatalities have also put LDF on the defence. LDF attempted to revive the issue of Kasthurirangan and Gadgil reports without discussing construction bans and pattaya land issues. UDF believes anti-government sentiment is strong and Dean's victory is certain. NDA's Sangeeta Viswanathan hopes to increase BJP vote share.

Posters of Ernakulam candidates

Ernakulam, which has traditionally sided with the Congress, is likely to continue its preference this time. Sitting MP Hibi Eden hopes for a good majority for the second time from the constituency. However, LDF believes candidate KJ Shine has impressed voters. Though Dr Radhakrishnan is a candidate who can increase BJP's vote share, the party's organisational structure in the area is not impressive.

Candidates from Chalakkudy constituency. Photo: Manorama

Despite Twenty20's presence in Chalakkudy, UDF appears to hold sway. UDF's Benny Behnan is known to be an active MP in the area. Overcoming the initial lethargy, UDF launched a vigorous campaign in the final days in the constituenct. LDF hopes that the goodwill surrounding its candidate C Ravindranath will benefit it. Twenty20 candidate Charlie Paul may draw more UDF votes. BDJS candidate KA Unnikrishnan's hope lies in solid NDA votes.

Suresh Gopi, VS Sunil Kumar, K Muraleedharan. Photo: Manorama

This grand finale of the war of votes. It can be described as an 'equilateral triangle' competition. K Muraleedharan, VS Sunil Kumar and Suresh Gopi are engaged in a neck-and-neck contest. All three fronts are eagerly awaiting to see if the Pooram imbroglio has an impact on voting. The lapse on the part of the government and the police have annoyed the LDF camp to no end. The hasty damage-control actions were born out of those worries. The Left will also find the Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scam hard to negotiate. Voting day undercurrents are crucial given that all three candidates are popular with voters.

Read Know Your Candidate: In Thrissur, saffron star meets seasoned Congressman & popular comrade

TN Sarasu, Ramya Haridas, K Radhakrishnan. Photo: Manorama

The LDF's initial confidence in recapturing Alathur seems to have waned a bit. UDF's Ramya Haridas is campaigning vigorously. LDF's hope lies in the popularity of Minister K Radhakrishnan and his good performance in the assembly poll. Former DCC president AV Gopinath is an added support to the CPM leader. There is sentiment against the state government in the agriculture sector, which could prove decisive. NDA candidate TN Sarasu is campaigning vigorously to increase the vote share.

C Krishnakumar, A Vijayaraghavan, VK Sreekanadan. Photo: Manorama

UDF's hope lies in MP VK Sreekandan's popularity and acceptance among voters. If the anti-BJP votes and farmers' sentiment against the Left government come together, the incumbent MP from Congress will win again. However, CPM is confident that A Vijayaraghavan, who has a strong political base, will win in the constituency. The LDF believes that the votes won by the BJP candidate C Krishnakumar will dent the UDF's chances.

Abdussamad Samadani, KS Hamza, Nivedita Subrahmanyan. Photo: Manorama

In the constituency, where an ex-League leader is contesting on the CPM's symbol against an IUML veteran, MP Abdussamad Samadani is likely to maintain his supremacy. The LDF tried to strengthen the competition through KS Hamza. But with the Samastha, the congregation of Sunni clerics, throwing its weight behind the League, the UDF's confidence has sky rocketed. NDA is hoping to increase its vote share through Nivedita Subrahmanyan.

ET Muhammad Basheer, V Wasif, Dr M Abdul Salam. Photo: Manorama

In the stronghold of the League, the LDF has matched the dominant party with its campaigning strategies. UDF's ET Muhammad Basheer and LDF's V Wasif have covered every nook and corner of the constituency. The League highlights ET's fight against the Citizenship Act. The Left tried to create confusion among the UDF by questioning the Congress' stand on the issue. Modi's controversial remark has put a huge question mark on Dr M Abdul Salam's prospects.

Elamaram Karim, MT Ramesh, MK Raghavan. Photo: Manorama

On the strength of MK Raghavan's image, UDF is aiming for a fourth win in a row. The LDF, through Elamaram Kareem, is aiming for a coup d'etat banking on the undercurrents of minority votes. It is also working to stop the leakage of Left votes which it believed happened in the past three times. The UDF is counting on the consolidation of the anti-BJP votes and the support of the Welfare Party and others. The BJP, which has fielded MT Ramesh, aims to better its performance.

Annie Raja, Rahul Gandhi, K Surendran. Photo: Manorama

UDF is confident that Rahul Gandhi's margin of victory will cross the 4 lakh-mark this time. LDF candidate Annie Raja hopes to gain votes on the organisational cohesion of the Left and on the campaign that Rahul's performance as MP did not meet people's expectations. The left front will consider it an achievement if Rahul's victory margin is brought down to less than 3 lakh. BJP state president K Surendran attempts to collect maximum party votes by making controversial remarks.
Read Know Your Candidate: In Wayanad, CPI & BJP dream of turning Rahul Gandhi's safe house to short-stay 

Praphul Krishnan, KK Shailaja, Shafi Paramabil. Photo: Manorama

The final round of the campaign saw UDF candidate Shafi Parambal go ahead of the rest after what seemed an even-steven initial round. The obscene video controversy has boomeranged on the LDF. KK Shailaja explained later that she did not say the word 'video'. The LDF is banking on the women voters who flock to see and hear former state health minister. The rigorous punishment imposed by the high court on CPM leaders in the TP Chandrasekharan murder case and the killing of a CPM worker while making a bomb in Panur are the topics of discussion ahead of the election.
Read Know Your Candidate: Teacher vs charmer fight wows Vadakara

MV Jayarajan, C Raghunath, K Sudhakaran. Photo: Manorama

No matter who wins, the margin of victory will be thin. UDF calculates that K Sudhakaran will get what he needs to win even though it may receive fewer minority votes. While LDF hopes to get all the 'party votes' for its candidate MV Jayarajan, it will be crucial to see how many votes he will get from non-party voters. The UDF believes that Sudhakaran's popularity and credibility in Kannur will help him eventually. C Raghunath, an old supporter of Sudhakaran, is fighting as the NDA candidate.

Rajmohan Unnithan, ML Ashwani, MV Balakrishnan. Photo: Manorama

Though UDF's Raj Mohan Unnithan is likely to retain the seat, LDF candidate MV Balakrishnan has seen a surge in support in the final lap. UDF pins hopes on Unnithan's image and popularity among voters. The question is whether the LDF's organisational prowess can outdo the incumbent MP's acceptance among the electorate. Who will win the minority vote is also crucial. NDA's ML Ashwini has managed to have a prominent presence during campaigns.

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