Pathanapuram: The CPI yearns nostalgically for the days when it commanded the Pathanapuram assembly constituency. The seat represented by former minister E Chandrasekharan Nair and Prakash Babu is a distant dream for the party, just like the elephant lores associated with the area.
The CPI has contested from the seat in 13 of the 15 assembly elections and won nine. The party was always at key positions in the village panchayats, until the recent one.
The taming of the CPI was a collaborative effort. Everyone from ally CPM to opponent Congress has contributed. Kerala Congress strongman R Balakrishna Pillai and his son K B Ganesh Kumar are key contributors. Ganesh Kumar is contesting under the banner of the Kerala Congress (B) for the fifth straight time. This is his second fight from the Left Democratic Front camp.
Ganesh Kumar has been a stringent critic of his former partners since his party left the United Democratic Front. He is faced with Congress leader Jyothi Kumar Chamakkala, the KPCC general secretary who has been squaring off with Ganesh Kumar on television. Jyothi Kumar has been able to ensure the support of all allies, while Ganesh Kumar pins its hopes on the undercurrents.
The BJP candidate is party’s district secretary Jithin Dev.
Ganesh Kumar’s campaign is devoid of star power this time. The actor-turned-politician had Mohanlal, Dileep and Kavya Madhavan performing for him in the last election. This time, he even threatened to quit the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists.
Ganesh Kumar faces serious allegations from ally CPI. The CPI accused Ganesh Kumar’s party of contesting against its own candidates in the local body elections and ensuring their defeat. The CPI took out their protest into the street. Both alliance partners went into a slanging march during an election review meeting. The CPM sat silent through the whole controversy.
Ganesh Kumar is a seasoned politician with a knack to benefit from challenging situations. However, Jyothi Kumar and team expects to gain votes from the muddy waters in Pathanapuram. The BJP is looking to build on the 11,000 votes it received in 2016.