Kundara: Political currents of Kundara are as nuanced as the varieties of fish in its backwaters. The assembly constituency is synonymous with CPM leader J Mercykutty Amma. She has contested five times from the constituency and won three times.
The fisheries minister, however, is not complacent as she looks to win another term. Facing allegations involving a deal related to deep sea trawling, Mercykutty Amma refuses to be defensive. “What is the point of building a ship here when it is up to the central government to grant permission for that,” she deflects the charges.
She tries to downplay the allegations in every campaign venue. A victory is indispensable for Mercykutty Amma and the CPM, especially in the backdrop of the Catholic Church’s decision to get involved in the political race by circulating a pastoral letter.
Mercykutty Amma’s chief opponent is KPCC vice president P C Vishnunath, who has a reputation as a political survivor. He had to wait out the tug of war in his party before his candidature was announced, yet he wasted no time in increasing his visibility in the constituency.
Vishnunath is facing an electoral battle for the fourth time, but the first in his home district. He expects to cash in on the fishing controversy and the crises in the traditional cashew nut processing sector in the area. At the same time, he has to energise the party machinery at the grass roots.
As if the controversy around a suspected trawling deal was not enough, the president of the American company involved in the row has also thrown in the gauntlet in Kundara. EMCC president Shiju M Varghese, who was originally after a Rs 5,000 crore project, ended up as one of the independent candidates, raising several questions.
The BJP has allotted the seat to ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena. NDA candidate Vanaja Vidyadharan, the district president of the BDJS, is active in the constituency despite initial hiccups in the BJP. She wanted to contest in her home turf Punalur but ultimately settled for Kundara.