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Group of 59 to swing power scale

The constituencies that go to the polls on April 22 will decide who comes to power, reports Ramesh Babu.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2006 13:51 IST

The fifty-nine constituencies in southern Kerala that go to the polls on April 22 will decide who comes to power.

Unlike the northern districts that vote on a set pattern, the southern segments that fall under the erstwhile Travancore principality swing in every election, indicating the popular sentiment.

In the north, Kannur and Kasargod are red bastions. The Muslim-dominated Malappuram district is almost on a lease to the Indian Union Muslim League, the ally of the Congress.

Kozhikode, Palakkad and Thrissur are pro-Left but susceptible to lastminute swings. However, the six districts down south spanning Ernakulam to Thiruvananthapuram, voter preferences are unpredictable.

Even in the Christian heartland of Kottayam, voters are prone to attrition.

Even a backward candidate would romp home in the Syrian Christian pocket if the incumbent government had not lived up to expectation.

Some of the high-profile contenders include chief minister Oommen Chandy in Puthupally, where he has been winning consecutively for eight times, revenue minister KM Maani in Pala, agriculture minister KR Gowri in Aroor, adjoining Kochi, and labour minister Babu Divakaran in the cashew country of Kollam.