Onmanorama analyses the political scenario in all 14 districts ahead of the Kerala Assembly Elections 2021.
Historically, the front which wins Thiruvananthapuram district, the state capital, goes on to rule Kerala. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) had won 9 of the 14 constituencies in the 2016 Assembly polls. The United Democratic Front (UDF) secured four seats, while BJP got one. The LDF took over one more seat from the UDF through the Vattiyoorkavu bypoll. But the UDF came ahead in 12 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, the UDF was able to gain an edge only in one seat in the local body polls held in December 2020. The LDF secured a lead in 12 seats, while BJP got a lead in one seat.
Though the LDF secured all 11 seats in the 2016 Assembly polls, they lost out on that many seats to the UDF during the Lok Sabha polls held after three years. Though the LDF was able to surge ahead in the local body polls, it was not able to repeat the 2015 feat.
Last time in the LDF, CPM and CPI had contested in four seats each, while the Kerala Congress (B), RSP-L (LDF independent) and CMP (LDF independent) contested in one seat each. In the UDF, Congress contested in seven seats, RSP in three seats, and the Muslim League in one seat. This time, there could be a rethink regarding the Kunnathur seat in the LDF camp. In the UDF, there are rumours that the Congress might take over RSP's Eravipuram seat. Also, discussions are ongoing over the League's seat.
Though Pathanamthitta is favourable to the UDF, it does not even have one MLA in the district. Konni, the only constituency to which the UDF was hanging on to, was also lost to the LDF in the bypoll. The UDF was ahead in all constituencies in the Lok Sabha polls but suffered a setback in the local body polls. The BJP also wields influence in the district. In the UDF, Congress will contest in Konni, Aranmula, Ranni and Adoor seats, while the P J Joseph faction of the Kerala Congress will contest in Thiruvalla.
In the LDF, CPM have sought to contest in the Konni, Aranmula, and Ranni seats, while the CPI in Adoor and Janata Dal (S) in Thiruvalla. The Kerala Congress (M) has also raised demands for Ranni. In the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), Ranni seat will be for the BDJS.
Also, the Church case and the Sabarimala row will be crucial issues.
Both the fronts are in a do-or-die battle due the political shifts of Jose K Mani-led Kerala Congress (M) and Mani C Kappan. As the LDF gears up for the poll battle along with the newly-inducted Kerala Congress (M), the UDF has to prove that its strength has not eroded in the district which has always sided with the Congress-led front. The NDA too plans to step up the attack.
Questions still remain over whether P C George, who won as an independent from Poonjar last time, will contest as an independent or will join some front. With the Kerala Congress (M)'s exit, the Congress is looking to take over more seats. The CPI and Kerala Congress (M) have not reached a consensus over seat sharing. Both parties are staking claim to Kanjirappally. The BJP is also hopeful of its chances in Kanjirappally.
The LDF, with the Kerala Congress (M) in its fold, aims to gain dominance over Idukki, making it imperative for the UDF to prove that its influence has not waned in the district. The NDA is hoping to give a tough fight in the plantation sector with the support of AIADMK. The LDF is optimistic that the last-minute announcement of Rs 12,000-crore Idukki package for the district, which was ravaged by floods, land issues, and farmer woes, would help to garner votes.
The UDF is hopeful that the allegations against the government and the stance adopted over issues, including amendment to land assignment rules, would work in its favour.
The LDF, which secured eight of the nine constituencies in the 2016 elections, suffered a setback in the Aroor bypoll. The UDF plans to win at least five constituencies. Minister P Thilothaman, who completed three terms in Cherthala, will back out. It is unsure if Ministers G Sudhakaran and Thomas Isaac will get any exemption.
The BDJS contested in four seats in 2016. There is also a move to field Thushar Vellappally in Kuttanad. The BJP is pinning its hopes on the growing vote share in Mavelikara and Chengannur regions.
The UDF bagged nine and LDF took five of the 14 seats in 2016. Last time in the UDF, Congress contested in 11 seats and won in 7. The Muslim League, Kerala Congress (Jacob), Kerala Congress (M) contested in one seat each. Both League and Jacob won. The seat-sharing will be along these lines this year also.
The Kothamangalam seat was given to the Kerala Congress (M) in 2016, when both factions were part of the UDF. This time also the Joseph faction is likely to be given Kothamangalam, but talks on swapping seats are also on. In the LDF, the CPM had contested in 11 seats last time around. But it would have to let go off Piravom or Perumbavoor for the Kerala Congress (M). The CPM is also mulling on taking over Paravoor from the CPI.
The LDF had won 12 of the 13 constituencies in the district in 2016. But in the Lok Sabha elections, the UDF had won three seats, including the constituencies in this district, with a big majority. Among the Ministers A C Moideen, C Raveendran and V S Sunil Kumar, and chief whip K Rajan, only Rajan is assured of a seat. The BJP, which reached the second spot in the Thrissur Assembly constituency during the Lok Sabha polls, is counting its chances of securing one of the constituencies of Thrissur, Puthukkad and Kodungallur.
The Life Mission flats, the row over which put the government in a dock, are situated in the Wadakkanchery constituency of the district. This is the only constituency in the district in which UDF secured a win last time.
Twelve of the 16 assembly constituencies in the Malappuram district are with the UDF. The LDF, which only got two seats in 2011, registered upset wins in Tanur and Nilambur in 2016. But the UDF made gains during the local body polls.
In the UDF, Muslim League was given 12 seats while Congress had 4. This time also the decision is to follow the same model. The seat-sharing in the LDF in 2011 - CPM 11, CPI 3, NCP 1, and INL 1.
The BDJS, which contested in one seat last time, is hopeful of getting more seats.
Though Palakkad had always sided with the LDF, the Left front was in for a shock as the district opted for the UDF in the Lok Sabha polls. But the LDF heaved a sigh of relief during the local polls.
With the UDF strengthening its base and the BJP increasing its influence, the district is slated to see a tough poll battle. The LDF has 9 and UDF has 3 MLAs from the 12 constituencies in the district. The absence of CPM veteran V S Achuthanandan, who had represented Malampuzha for two decades, would be conspicuous. The Palakkad and Malampuzha seats, where the BJP came second last time, would be crucial for the party.
The current scenario in Kozhikode is 11 seats for the LDF and two for the UDF in the 13 constituencies. Though a Left fortress, Kozhikode has favoured both fronts. But historically, Kozhikode leans towards the Left during the Assembly polls. Even in 2011, when the UDF came to power, the LDF had secured victories in 10 seats. In the last three elections, the district sided with the Left and the Congress did not get even one seat. In the local polls, the UDF made gains in three constituencies and the LDF in 10 constituencies.
In the last Assembly polls, the UDF was able to clinch only Sultan Bathery among the three constituencies in the district. However, in the Lok Sabha polls, when Rahul Gandhi became a candidate in Wayanad, the Congress-led front was able to gain dominance in 90 per cent of the booths. In the local body polls, the UDF came ahead in the panchayat and municipalities but both fronts are equally matched in the district panchayat and block panchayats.
This time, the LDF is gearing up to secure Sulthan Bathery as well. Sulthan Bathery is one of the seats in Malabar, where the NDA leadership believes it can do well.
Of the 11 constituencies, the LDF has a strong hold over Payyanur, Kalliassery, Koothuparambu, Mattannur, Dharmadom, Thalassery, Kannur, and Taliparamba. Irikkoor, Peravor and Azhikode constituencies are with the UDF. As the LJD and the Kerala Congress (M) have exited the front, the UDF will have vacancies in Koothuparambu, Mattannur, and Taliparamba constituencies. An agreement has been reached over giving Koothuparambu to the League.
At the same time, the LDF has to find seats for the LJD and Kerala Congress. If Irikkoor is given to the Kerala Congress (M), then the CPI will not have a seat. The LJD has asked for Health Minister K K Shailaja's Koothuparamba constituency. It is not clear if K M Shaji will contest from Azhikode. K C Joseph, who has been an MLA from Irikkoor since 1982, has declared that he would not contest from the constituency this time.
In the five constituencies, the LDF has bagged Uduma, Kanhangad and Trikaripur while the UDF secured Manjeshwaram and Kasaragod constituencies. No swapping of constituencies. In the LDF, the INL has asked for the Uduma, where the CPM plans to contest, instead of Kasaragod. K Kunhiraman and E Chandrasekharan might stay away as they have completed two terms. The party will take a call on fielding N A Nellikkunnu, M C Kamaruddin and M Rajagopalan. Some of the constituencies in which the BJP is hopeful are in this district.