Angamaly is heading for a photo finish as Roji M John takes on Thettayil

LDF candidate Jose Thettayil, UDF's Roji M John and NDA's KV Sabu
LDF candidate Jose Thettayil, UDF's Roji M John and NDA's KV Sabu. Photo: Manorama

Angamaly: The most exciting election battle in the whole of Ernakulam district is set in Angamaly. Neither of the dominant political fronts can draw solace from the assembly segment’s track record or geographical extent.

Political party workers are ploughing each nook and cranny of the constituency to turn it in their favour as Janata Dal’s former minister takes on one of the young MLAs of the Congress. Both campaigns are centred on development, blaming the underdevelopment on the other party and promising to better the record.

Roji M John MLA highlights good roads, the police headquarters building and the Skill Excellence Centre as his achievements over the past five years. Jose Thettayil reminds the people that his stint as a state minister contributed to the KSRTC terminal, mini civil station and the PWD Rest House in the constituency.

Angamaly was firmly with the Congress-led United Democratic Front for three terms until Thettayil won it over for the Left Democratic Front in 2006. Thettayil could have achieved a hat-trick had he been allowed to be a candidate in 2016, some observers pointed out. His absence benefited John.

Roji M John buying lottery from a seller during his election campaign.
UDF's Roji M John buying lottery from a seller during his election campaign. Photo: Manorama

The young legislator has made himself a local resident to brush aside a campaign that he was an outsider to the constituency. He made his presence known across the constituency in the last five years.

Minorities Morcha national secretary K V Sabu represents the National Democratic Alliance. The BJP has taken over the seat which was contested by the Kerala Congress faction led by P C Thomas last time. The NDA scored 9,014 votes and built on the share in the Lok Sabha and local body elections. There are hardly any other candidates to upset the voting patterns.

One of the main talking points is the Gift City proposed in Ayyampuzha as part of the Bengaluru-Kochi industrial corridor. Ayyampuzha is waiting for redemption. The area has suffered from massive granite mining to feed the construction boom in Kochi.

LDF candidate Jose Thettayil addressing voters
LDF candidate Jose Thettayil addressing voters during his poll campaign. Photo: Manorama

People are in favour of the multi-crore project but they are wary of any evictions related to land acquisition.

The constituency is also asking for development of the Chambannur industrial area with 200 industrial units and TELK.

All candidates have some explaining to do when it comes to the traffic snarls in the city that stretches from the National Highway 66 to the Main Central Road. Angamaly town lacks a service road unlike other towns by the national highway. The missing parallel bridge in Kalady is also an issue.

NDA candidate KV Sabu meeting voters
NDA candidate KV Sabu meeting voters. Photo: Manorama

The Angamaly constituency comprises an agricultural bowl bordered by the Periyar River and the Chalakkudy River. Agricultural issues have not dominated the election discourse this time. The constituency could benefit from a tourism circuit projects that could link national pilgrim centres of Kalady and Malayattur with the Ezhattumukham village.

Though known as a Christian heartland, Angamaly is represented by all communities.

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