Victory in Lok Sabha polls renews Congress hopes

Party has had no MLA from the district in the Assembly since 2006

Three victories in a row in Kozhikode and Vadakara parliamentary seats have renewed hopes for the Congress leadership to revive the party in Kozhikode district.

Since 2006, the Congress has had no MLA from the district in the Assembly. The appointment of T. Siddique as the District Congress Committee president more than two years ago was believed to have brought in fresh blood and new ideas, but he had to face factional resistance from the upper and middle rungs of the party.

The shortcomings, KPCC leaders think, would be rectified with the party emerging stronger in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls. The Congress victories have been attributed to the vigorous campaign unleashed by the Indian Union Muslim League. But the winners – M.K. Raghavan and K. Muraleedharan – in Kozhikode and Vadakara, have a daunting task to make the party stand on its own feet to recover the lost ground all these years.

In a first, perhaps for the the last three decades or so, the Congress candidates have taken leads in all the 13 Assembly segments in the district in the Lok Sabha polls. The biggest margin of 54,471 votes was of course, in Thiruvambady segment, where Congress’s Rahul Gandhi got against his nearest rival P.P. Suneer of the CPI.

Incidentally, the total votes George M. Thomas of the CPI(M) received in the 2016 Assembly polls in the segment was 62,234 while Mr. Gandhi garnered 91,152 votes this time from this segment which is in Kozhikode district.

Constituency-wise, Mr. Raghavan and Mr. Muraleedharan gave the CPI (M) candidates in Kozhikode and Vadakara a run for their money. The LDF had fielded North Kozhikode legislator A. Pradeepkumar and CPI(M) strongman P. Jayarajan to capture these seats. Mr. Raghavan, in fact, secured nearly 5,000 votes more than Mr. Pradeepkumar in his segment.

Even in segments considered to be Left bastions such as Balussery and Beypore, it was an ignominious rout for the CPI(M) candidate. Likewise, the huge leads secured by Mr. Raghavan in Koduvally and Kunnamangalam also showed that the induction of the Indian National League (INL) into the LDF and the subsequent merger of the National Secular Conference into the INL had failed to enthuse the electorate in these Muslim-dominated segments.

Similarly, in Vadakara constituency, Mr. Muraleedharan had complete dominance in all the five segments, including Vadakara and Koyilandy where the margin was over 20,000 votes. In others, the leads were between 12,000 and 18,000 votes. This also reveals that the electoral arithmetic had failed to work in Vadakara following the induction of Loktantrik Janata Dal into the LDF.

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