Thiruvananthapuram, April 20 (IANS) Neyattinkara is a piece of land in Kerala that once saw many uprisings against British rule. But now it is set for a fierce battle of the political kind, thanks to an assembly byelection.
Neyattinkara constituency is located on the city outskirts, on the Tamil Nadu border. It has a good number of voters from the Nadar community which includes both Christians and Hindus.
It was a traditional Congress seat with legislator Thamapanoor Ravi winning from here three times in 1991, 1996, 2001 and losing it twice in 2006 and 2011.
With the upcoming byelection, the rival fronts in the state have already announced their candidates.
The byelection will certainly give sleepless nights to the Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) as the sitting legislator R. Selvaraj, resigned last month, and garnered support from the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
For the CPI-M, it is a fight to finish. The party Wednesday decided to field a local candidate, F. Lawerence, who has credentials of working for society.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who the CPI-M alleges masterminded the resignation of Selvaraj, said any election is often seen as a referendum to the performance of both the government and the opposition.
'Yes, certainly, the performance of my government is going to come under the scanner when the electorate goes to the polling station, likewise the work of the opposition also would be taken into account,' said Chandy.
The CPI-M is crying foul.
'Selvaraj is a traitor. Whatever he has got in his life has been gifted by our party. He has let us down and there is going to be a fitting reply that would be given to him and Chandy for this 'horse trading',' said CPI-M leader K. Surendran.
Selvaraj has already cleared round one and with Lawerence's candidature being cleared Wednesday, the heat of the political campaign is on.
A win for the UDF-backed candidate here would make its strength go up from 72 to 73 seats, while the Left Democratic Front (LDF) will see their numbers remain at 67, in the 140-member Kerala assembly.
(Sanu George can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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