“The fishermen face a considerable amount of risk as no one knows if they will be able to catch fish, or if they will come back. Even as their lives are extremely difficult, the Chief Minister has made a deal with an American trawler company. Those who are making the laws are not concerned about those it will affect,” said Gandhi.
In Cherthala Assembly constituency, UDF’s S Sarath is standing against LDF’s P Thilothaman. The Congress is hoping to wrest this seat from the LDF as it used to be the seat of former Kerala chief minister and veteran Congress leader AK Antony. Communist Party of India’s Thilothaman has been the MLA here since 2006. The LDF workers are in a fix as their own PS Jyothis has switched camps and is now NDA candidate from Cherthala.
“Yes, Thilothaman has won thrice, but who said he will win this time too? Our votes are not anyone’s property. We will vote based on the work he has done. But, what has he done? He is a good man, but look around, can you see any development in this area? We are still considered rural,” said 60-year-old Ravi.
Remya, a resident of Pattanakad, echoed similar views. “Our house here did not have piped drinking water until two years ago. Will you believe this is happening in Kerala?”
She added that it was only in Cherthala that everyone was enquiring about the NDA candidate but for the wrong reasons. “That is only because he switched from CPI(M). That has upset both the local CPI(M) and NDA workers. This is likely to give an advantage to Sarath, who has been helping people even though he lost elections,” explained Remya.
But Vinod, who runs a small shop at Patanakkad junction, disagrees. He said that he survived through the pandemic only because of the kit that LDF gave. “I got 40 kg rice every month. We survived because of it. I am a physically challenged person. Ever since LDF came to power, my pension would come without fail to my account. So, why will I not vote for LDF,” said Vinod.
At Aroor, where Shanimol Usman is the UDF candidate, there is hope that she will pull off the victory again. She won the 2019 byelection after CPI(M)’s MA Ariff won the Lok Sabha election. Congress had won the Aroor seat after 18 years and she had won with a margin of 1,900 votes. She is contesting against Daleema Jojo of CPI(M).
“She has been visible after she won. She did not have enough time, but she seems to be capable. My brother had gone to her for some work and she readily helped. We can’t say yet who will win. Daleema is panchayat vice president, though she is more famous as a singer,” said Raju, a taxi driver.
In Alappuzha Assembly constituency, KS Manoj is the UDF candidate against LDF’s PP Chitharanjan. Here, a controversy had broken out two days ago after the NDA candidate Sandeep Vachaspathi of the BJP paid a floral tribute at the Punnapra-Vayalar martyrs’ column.
“Sandeep did it to garner attention and create trouble. Otherwise no one was talking about him. NDA is not a factor here. LDF’s Chitharanjan only helps certain people, while Manoj helps everyone. Moreover, this constituency has both Muslims and Christians whose votes will get consolidated,” said Tomy at Alappuzha.
That Chittaranjan only selectively helps people was endorsed by Remya, whose mother’s house is in Alappuzha town.
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