Development still the key in Kasaragod
The old issue of "backwardness" of Kasaragod constituency is still the hottest campaign point in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in this border district of Kerala.
The decades-long issue of "backwardness" of Kasaragod constituency is still the hottest campaign point in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls in this border district of Kerala, where parties fight a fierce battle criticising each other for `neglect' of the region over the years.
The Lok Sabha seat, spread over Kasaragod and parts of Kannur district had been represented mostly by CPI-M in the past and the Congress during brief interludes.
Making a renewed bid to wrest the constituency, Congres has fielded NA Mohammed, a Bangalore-based businessman who has roots in the constituency, against CPI-M's P Karunakaran, a former MLA and son-in-law of Marxist leader A K Gopalan.
BJP has fielded its district president V Balakrishna Shetty (RPT) V Balakrishna Shetty in the constituency which has a sizeable Kannada speaking population. Considered one of the strong BJP pockets in Kerala, the party was polled slightly over one lakh votes in 1999.
The CPI-M, which has an edge in the constituency, is clearly way ahead of its rivals in its campaign to retain their seat for the fourth successive time.
A traditional CPI-M bastion where A K Gopalan had scored a string of victories since 1952 to 1967, the constituency had also suffered shocking reverses for the party in the defeats of prominent leaders like former Chief Minister E K Nayanar in 1971, Ramanna Rai in 1977 and E Balanandan in 1984.
CPI-M nominee for two terms, T Govindan also saw his majority dwindling in each poll. When he could trounce the UDF nominee by 74,730 votes in the 1996 polls, the victory margin got reduced to 48,240 in 1998 and then to 31,578 in 1999.