All eyes at Nemom, the ‘Gujarat’ of Kerala (IANS Analysis)


Nemom constituency in the heart of the state capital, often referred to as the ‘Gujarat of Kerala’ by the BJP here will soon become the cynosure of all eyes when the election campaign heats up.

This is the only seat which the BJP won in the 140-member Kerala Assembly, and the Congress is working hard to field a high profile candidate to snatch the seat.

For the past few days, things have come to a standstill in the Congress as it’s top state leaders are staying put in Delhi to finalise their list of candidates. The stumbling block before them is whom to field from Nemom, as they want to put an end to the canards of the ruling CPI-M leaders, who have been saying that in Kerala the Congress and the BJP are hand in glove.

Ever since the BJP opened its account after winning the Nemom seat in the 2016 polls, when its stalwart O.Rajagopal won the seat with a margin of 8,671 seat and the Congress-led UDF candidate finished a poor third, the CPI-M has been saying that it was the game plan of the Congress to allow the BJP to open their account.

The CPI-M in the upcoming election has made this point it’s main campaign here. It has fielded V. Sivankutty, who won in 2011 and lost in 2016.

The Congress candidate for this seat is yet to be finalised. Since the past two days, the names of two time former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and also Lok Sabha member K. Muraleedharan have been doing the rounds.

While the media has been speculating that Chandy would be fielded from here to take on the BJP at Nemom, he has flatly denied it.

“I have only contested from Puthupally,” said Chandy, who is getting ready for his 12th straight electoral battle, which first began in 1970 and has won every election.

State Congress president Mullapally Ramachandran said we will see if Nemom is BJP’s Gujarat.

“Just wait and see, we will bring in one of the most popular and high profile candidate to take on the BJP at Nemom. Just wait,” said Ramachandran, who along with all the top leaders are in Delhi to finalise the 92 seats that the Congress party will contest.

The name of Chennithala is also in the air, while Ramachandran said his only aim is to ensure that the Congress-led UDF wins the polls and will be visiting all the 140 constituencies thus making it clear that he is not in the running for the Nemom seat.

Meanwhile, there is no end to the speculation on who the surprise and high profile candidate would be and the latest name that has surfaced is of the Congress organisational secretary — K.C. Venugopal, presently a Rajya Sabha member from Rajasthan.

State BJP president K. Suurendran said Nemom is their fortress and in the constituency the main fight is between the BJP and the CPI-M.–IANS