Ottappalam: When it comes to politics, people of Ottappalam can't stop talking about it. After all, they have a lot to boast of – from the venue of the first meeting of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee to the home constituency of former president K R Narayanan.
If Congress dominates lore, contemporary politics is leaning heavily to the left camp. The CPM has been representing Ottappalam for several terms. The party has fielded Sports Council president K Prem Kumar as its candidate. He is an advocate and a leader of the DYFI.
He has a formidable opponent in Congress’s Dr P Sarin, a physician who has quit the civil service. The BJP is rallied behind local leader P Venugopal.
The CPM is far from being complacent in its stronghold. The party opted for Prem Kumar in anticipation that the Congress would challenge it with a youngster like Sarin. The arena was left to youngsters as sitting MLA P Unni stepped aside.
The CPM expects to guard the seat with its well-oiled machinery. The Congress, in contrast, is not so well organised in Ottappalam. The CPM has shaken off the ghosts of factionalism that had worked against its prospects earlier.
The United Democratic Front puts up a brave front too. Sarin is introduced throughout the constituency as an heir to K R Narayanan. Sarin has deep roots in the constituency, where he has been an active presence for a few years. The Congress expects to offset its organisational weakness with the personal charisma of the candidate.
BJP’s district general secretary, Venugopal, has been steadily adding to his vote tally for the past two terms. The BJP is hopeful of a better performance this time as it had finished second in many local bodies that fall in the constituency.