Elections

Will Kerala send to Parliament the next Prime Minister?

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on May 23, 2019 Published on May 23, 2019

Rahul Gandhi, President, Congress   -  PTI

While the Congress party believes his victory is a given, what bothers them is the margin

 

Kerala has been drawing an interest disproportionate to its size and profile in the Lok Sabha elections for more than one reason.

The first is of course whether the southern-most state with 20 constituencies would get to send a Prime Ministerial candidate in Congress President Rahul Gandhi from the Wayanad seat.

While the Congress party believes his victory is a given, what bothers them is the margin. Nothing less than three lakh would satisfy them; and they think Rahul Gandhi can go past this way beyond.

On the contrary, anything less than 1.5 lakh would be the equivalent to a defeat to rival candidates Thushar Vellappally of the NDA ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), and the CPI.

Secondly, the state witnessed one of the most polarised campaign in its history, with the NDA-BJP driving up the Sabarimala case to the top of its electoral agenda and the Congress joining as a hesitant approver.

The issue of faith is believed would be a major determinant in at least five constituencies, one of which is Thiruvananthapuram, which Shashi Tharoor of the Congress is fighting to defend.

His main rival is Kummanam Rajasekharan, a former State President of the BJP and who quit as Governor of Mizoram at the instance of the party's national leadership to enter the poll arena.

Pathanamthitta, the cradle of the Sabarimala controversy, is another fiercely fought seat where K Surendran, the darling of the Sabarimala Action Council, takes on incumbent Anto Antony of the Congress.

Thrissur, Palakkad and Kasaragod are the rest three of the five constituencies A-listed by the BJP as winnable this time round though exit polls results did not sound that optimistic.

Thirdly, the poll outcome would be a litmus test not just for Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan but also for his party the CPI(M), whose existence as a nationally recognised party would largely hinge on it.

Vijayan almost single-handedly led a contrarian campaign over Sabarimala maintaining all along that it was the Supreme Court verdict that must prevail over matters of faith.

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Published on May 23, 2019
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