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Constituency To Watch In Kerala For Lok Sabha Elections 2024

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No Lok Sabha election in Kerala has been a one-sided and done deal for any party. But the 2019 verdict in the state saw a massive victory by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) in the state sweeping 19 out of 20 seats. The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) alliance was reduced to only a single seat which they could hardly win by a margin of ten thousand votes. The 2024 election is more competitive and unpredictable than 2019 for many reasons.

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Historically UDF had the upper hand when it came to Lok Sabha elections despite LDF having an advantage in local and state elections. Kerala will vote for all its Lok Sabha MPs on 26th April. Each and every constituency this time has witnessed an extraordinary fight between the UDF and LDF as well as NDA on multiple seats. Both rivals UDF and LDF are largely part of the INDIA alliance which is in place in other states. Additionally, most of the seats have got national attention this time unlike in the past as BJP has taken the fight in the state more seriously and has deployed national-level leaders and Union Ministers to capture seats in the state. BJP till now has never won a Lok Sabha constituency from Kerala and currently, it is expecting some gains from here.

Disgruntled veterans form new political party in Kerala; claim independent  stand amid rumours of BJP affair | Onmanorama

Source: Onmanorama

Here are a few constituencies to look for this time which is not only witnessing tight fights but also has a lot of star contenders this time from multiple parties.

Thiruvananthapuram- The capital of Kerala and historically a strong Left constituency which was breached by Shashi Tharoor of the Congress party back in 2009. This time we are witnessing a triangular contest between Shashi Tharoor from UDF, Union Min Rajeev Chandrashekhar from NDA, and ex-MP Pannyan Ravindran of CPI. This is a seat in which BJP had come close second in both 2014 and 2019 overtaking the CPI party. This time, this seat is a fight of personalities and not merely of parties. Shashi Tharoor has been the MP here for fifteen years and has become one of the most important MPs for the party inside Lok Sabha and even a minister in UPA. Rajeev Chandrashekar despite being a Karnataka Malayali has made an effort to represent the local sentiments. Pannyan Ravindran was the MP from 2005 till 2019, and CPI has fielded him to tighten the fight here. The massive Vizhinjam seaport, the development of the IT sector, and the track record of central and state governments are the main issues in the seat.

Thrissur -This is the cultural capital of Kerala and is well known for festivities like Pooram. Thrissur was never a constituency that received national attention before. Always Thrissur has shown strong Left-wing leanings but also has seen strong Congress leaders such as K Karunakaran who became the Chief Minister. Currently, triangular contest between MP K Muraleedharan (son of ex-CM Karunakaran) from Congress, V S Sunil Kumar of CPI (former Kerala Minister), and Actor and Rajya Sabha Suresh Gopi of BJP. Both Muraleedharan and Sunil Kumar have strong local connections backed by their party strength on the ground. While Suresh Gopi tried his luck in 2019 as well as 2021 where he could only reach the third position. The exit of Padmaja Venugopal, the sister of K Muraleedharan had put the party on the back foot which forced K Muraleedharan to shift his constituency from Vadakara to Thrissur. There is a tight and unpredictable fight on the ground between all the sides with PM Modi’s visit to Thrissur multiple times, the Karuvanur Bank Scam involving CPI-M, the hard work of Suresh Gopi for a few years, local and central issues etc.

Alappuzha- Has always been seen as a left-friendly seat due to the strong roots of cadres of the communist parties and the history of communist movements in the state. Although Alappuzha has also elected strong Congress leaders to the Lok Sabha as well. This was the only seat that favored LDF in 2019 when M A Aariff won by a slim margin. He is defending the seat from two strong faces of UDF and NDA. The AICC General Secretary K C Venugopal is trying to make a comeback in electoral politics and win back the seat he held from 2004 to 2014. On the flip side, BJP has brought its firebrand leader Shobha Surendran to catch votes for the party. The issues of development, Highway and Bypass expansion, the record of Aariff and Venugopal in the constituency as well as other local problems dominate the poll.

Pathanamthitta- A strong fortress of the Congress party houses the famous Sabarimala temple which makes the electoral contest crucial for the three alliances. Additionally, this seat has a sizeable Christian population too. UDF won last time with Sabarimala sentiment pushing BJP to the third place. While LDF could not secure victory despite having an advantage with a number of MLAs here. 2014 is seeing a triangular contest between Anto Antony MP of Congress, Thomas Isaac of CPI-M, Former Kerala Finance Minister and Anil Antony of BJP, Son of former Kerala CM and Defense Minister A K Antony. The significance of this seat is going to be the Sabarimala stance which is one of the main revenue sources of the region as well as whether a section of Christian votes will get transferred to the BJP.

Wayanad- Grabbed national attention with Rahul Gandhi contesting here in the last election. Being the sitting seat of Rahul Gandhi, the on-ground situation holds significant importance nationally. In 2019 he won with a record margin in the storm of him being a prospective prime ministerial candidate but today such a strong sentiment is absent. He is now facing a fierce contest from both CPI and BJP through Annie Raja and its state President K Surendran respectively. He is primarily contesting here as a safe seat to campaign across the country and also being his seat, he has received massive support locally across the neighboring districts as well. This election has discussed everything from the attendance and involvement of Rahul Gandhi in Parliament, his track record as the MP and local issues of the region such as Man-Animal Conflicts and the development of Wayanad.

Attingal- A constituency with a strong left presence and always seen as an LDF-safe seat until 2019 drastically changing everything on the ground. Attingal witnessed a tri-cornered contest between sitting MP Adoor Prakash of Congress, V Joy of CPI-M and V Muraleedharan (MoS) of BJP. In 2019, there was a massive jump in BJP vote share backed by the electoral defeat of two-time sitting MP V Sampath of CPI-M. V Muraleedharan has been working much before the official announcement. In the 2021 state assembly elections, all seven assembly seats were swept by the LDF. Hence, there is a tough fight with all the fronts having boots on the ground.

Vadakara- This is receiving the attention of the entire state’s eyeballs. The bipolar contest between K K Shailaja of CPI-M (Former Health Minister of Kerala and UN awardee) and Shafi Parambil of Congress, the Sitting MLA has increased the visibility of the contest. Despite being a constituency with strong Left Voters has favoured the Congress party in Lok Sabha in the past several elections. Ever since the death of T P Chandrasekaran in the hands of CPI-M workers, the constituency has been slipping away from LDF. K Muraleedharan had tasted a big victory in 2019 despite a bipolar contest. This time, K K Shailaja has increased the stakes and hopes for LDF to win back here. Congress has chosen Shafi Parambil from Palakkad to safeguard this seat. BJP has given the ticket to a young face and Yuva Morcha State President C Praphul Krishna to disrupt and reap out of the bipolar contest. Whether LDF can overcome the TP Effect through a notable personality like Shailaja teacher as she is fondly called or will Shafi Parambil through his charisma and profile win the seat.

Besides them, there are a lot of seats that witness interesting electoral battles such as Kottayam where the fight is between the two factions of Kerala Congress for the constituency. The MP who got elected from the UDF is now fighting from the side of the LDF. Similarly, another seat to watch is Chalakudy which is a Congress fortress challenged not only by the CPI-M but also by the corporate run party Twenty-Twenty. The strength of a party like that cannot be understated as it damaged the prospectus of UDF in both local and state elections.

The results of the elections are crucial for all sides even though Kerala contributes only twenty seats to the Lok Sabha. For Congress, holding on to their tally of 15 seats is tough as well as much of their MPs in 2019 had come from Kerala. For the Left parties protecting their last fortress and overcoming the state-level anti-incumbency is essential to save their tags of National Party. For the BJP, opening their account in Kerala is very much essential to the project south and also for their 370+ seat tally in the country. Even then for the public, the biggest question should be who will their MPs be for the next five years.


This Article was Originally Written by Jairam R Prabhu.


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