Kozhikode: It was no surprise when K K Rema, Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI) state secretariat member and wife of slain leader TP Chandrasekharan, announced on Sunday her decision to enter the election fray from Vadakara as she desperately wanted to take on CPM's Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan, one of the alleged conspirators in her husband's murder.
However, there is a rider to this. According to sources in RMPI, Rema may withdraw from the fray if United Democratic Front (UDF) fields KPCC president and sitting MP Mullappally Ramachandran in Vadakara.
RMPI had declared that it would field four candidates from Kozhikode, Vadakara, Alathur and Thrissur in the coming Lok Sabha elections. Though no official announcement has come out till now, advocate NP Prathap Kumar is expected to contest from Kozhikode. He had tried his luck in Kozhikode constituency in 2014.
Earlier, Mullappally had requested through a news channel interview that the RMPI should consider joining the UDF. But the party is yet to take an official stand on joining any front. RMPI has a strong presence in Vadakara constituency and Rema had polled 20,504 votes in the 2016 Assembly election.
The RMPI leadership has not publicly announced its plan to withdraw from fray if Mullappally enters the poll areana. Though Mullappally had reiterated his decision not to contest again, there is immense pressure on him to contest this time also as the CPM is adamant on wresting the seat. The Congress on Sunday had held an opinion poll among youths in Vadakara to find a replacement for Mullappally. But the poll result showed that fielding anybody else will weaken Congress's chances.
The CPM on the other hand is confident about Jayarajan's win. The LDF is banking on CPM strongholds like Thalassery and Koothuparamba for wresting the seat from Congreess. Thalassery MLA AN Shamseer, who lost to Mullappally in 2014, is the election committee convenor of Jayarajan. Mullappally had won the seat with a narrow margin of 3,306 in 2014. The fortunes changed in the 2016 Assembly polls with the LDF winning six out of the seven assembly seats under the Vadakara LS constituency. The only exception was Kuttiady, where Parakkal Abdulla of IUML won.
The LDF this time around has come up with another master stroke immediately after picking Jayarajan as the Vadakara candidate. It brought former Kannur district secretary P Sasi back to the leadership role on Monday. Sasi was expelled from the party for misconduct and he was taken back as an ordinary member after a break of seven years in July last year. Present Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan will quit the post as he is contesting from Vadakara. MV Jayarajan, private secretary to chief minister and party state committee member, will take charge as the new district secretary.
Whatever maybe the result of Vadakara election, P Jayarajan's return to active politics in Kannur would be difficult, say sources close to the party.
Even though Koothuparamba and Thalassery are the strogholds of CPM, it won't be easy for a non-Muslim candidate in other Assembly segments of Vadakara seat. Nadapuram, Kuttiady, Vadakara, Koyilandy and Perambra in Kozhikode district are Muslim strongholds and part of Vadakara LS seat. P Jayarajan also faces allegations of plotting the murder of P Abdul Shukkur (Ariyil Shukkur), a former Muslim Students Federation (MSF) leader.
There are disagreements in MP Veerendrakumar-led Loktantric Janata Dal also with its senior leaders like Manayath Chandran coming out in the open against the party's inability to get an LS seat. The party had left the UDF on a seat-sharing conflict and recently aligned with the LDF.