Kadakampally retains Kazhakuttam, needn't be sorry for his Sabarimala apology

Kadakampally  & Sobha
Kadakampally Surendran dashed Sobha Surendran's hopes.

Devaswom Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who apologised for what happened in Sabarimala after the Supreme Court verdict, has fought off a spirited Sobha Surendran to retain Kazhakuttam for the LDF. He beat the BJP candidate by a margin of  23,497 votes. This is Kadakampally's third win from the constituency; earlier, he had won in 1996 and 2016.

Congress's Dr S S Lal, suffering the fate of M A Vaheed in 2016, ended up third with 32,995 votes. 

It was Kadakampally Surendran who had set the tone for the campaign in Kazhakuttam. In the second week of March, he expressed regret for what happened in Kerala after the Supreme Court verdict on women's entry into Sabarimala, shocking the CPM and giving BJP the perfect excuse to sneak in the Sabarimala issue.

Sobha Surendran, though her candidature was among the last to be announced, began her campaign from Kariyavattom Sree Dharmasastha Temple, the most popular Ayyappa temple in Kazhakuttom constituency. She made Kadakampally, the devaswom minister, the villain of the piece. 

The result shows that such a branding failed to stick as the faithful, both in the majority and minority communities, were not miffed with Kadakampally. This was because, as devaswom minister, he was sensitive to most of their needs. 

The BJP had already made its presence felt in Kazhakuttam in a big way in 2016. In 2016, BJP's V Muraleedharan had gobbled up 31.90 percent of the votes, pushing the UDF candidate and three-time winner M A Vaheed to the third place. In 2011, the BJP candidate, Padmakumar, could secure just 6.86 percent votes.

The BJP's surge in 2016 virtually transformed Kazhakuttam into a two-way fight between the CPM and the BJP.

Surendran, however, was untouched by the BJP's rise in 2016. He still managed to improve his vote share by 2.18 percent in 2016. This time, too, he  weathered the BJP onslaught. 

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