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MUVATTUPUZHA

It's experience versus youth in the Muvattupuzha Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, with the loser likely to be consigned to history.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service
PUBLISHED ON APR 24, 2004 07:03 PM IST

It's experience versus youth in the Muvattupuzha Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala, with the loser likely to be consigned to history.

Minister of State for Law P.C. Thomas is aiming for his sixth consecutive win from Muvattupuzha. His principal opponent is his former idol Jose K. Mani, son of Kerala Revenue Minister K.M. Mani.

Another candidate giving both of them a run for their money is P.M. Ismail of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

On the last five occasions, Thomas had contested under the banner of Kerala's ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) as he belonged to the Kerala Congress (Mani). He quit the party after Mani dumped him after the May 2001 assembly elections.

The stakes are equally high for the younger Mani as his father seems to be losing his grip over the party ever since he began promoting his son. Should the younger Mani lose, it would be a political disaster.

P.C. George, who represents the Poonjar assembly that is a part of Muvattupuzha, says Mani's days are numbered.

"Gone are the days when he could have swung the votes to his side. This time, the traditional Christian votes that used to go en mass to Mani favour would not happen," said George.

"So, the votes would be split between Thomas and Mani, and this would directly benefit the CPI-M. Mani's son could well finish in the third spot," contended George.

Mani junior, however, is in a buoyant mood because the Muvattupuzha seat has always been the stronghold of the Congress led-UDF.

He is also hoping to gain from the state-wide election campaign of Kerala Chief minister A.K. Antony, particularly when it reaches Muvattupuzha this month.

"That will be the icing on the cake for us," said a Mani supporter.

In all this, both Thomas and Mani realise it would be curtains for whoever loses.

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