THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In seven Kerala constituencies, two existing legislators will take on each other in the assembly polls. So even before the results are declared, it is certain that only half of the 14 can make it back to the house again. Kerala goes to the polls on April 13 to elect 140 legislators.
Of the seven contests where the legislators are fighting each other, the most bitter battle is in Kottayam where veteran four-time Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan takes on Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) heavyweight V.N. Vasavan. Though Radhakrishnan hails from Kottayam, he has had four consecutive wins from the Adoor seat. He had to bow out of Adoor this time after it became a reserved constituency.
"It is only a technicality that I was a legislator from Adoor because I have been born and brought up in Kottayam and it was just that my work took me to Adoor. I know every nook and corner of this constituency and I have no worries about the poll outcome," said Radhakrishnan.
Rival Vasavan, who is a first-time legislator from Kottayam, is unfazed. "What more credentials do I need when I have been nurturing my constituency for the past five years. Is that not enough for my voters to judge me?" countered Vasavan.
Alappuzha district will witness two prestigious fights, with four legislators from rival fronts pitted against each another. The most awaited fight is between C.K. Sadasivan, the legislator from Kayamkulam, who takes on M. Murali of the Congress who for 20 years has been representing the neighbouring Mavelikera constituency and had to move out after it become a reserved constituency this time.
The second fight is between two first-time legislators at the Aroor constituency where M.A. Arif of the CPM takes on A.A. Shukur of the Congress, who won in a by-election from neighbouring Alappuzha constituency in 2009. In the 2006 assembly polls, Arif became the dark horse when he trounced veteran former CPM leader K.R. Gowri, who holds the unique record of contesting all assembly polls in Kerala so far.
At the Aranmula constituency in Pathanamthitta district, it is a fight between two first time legislators. K.C. Rajagoplan, the CPM legislator from this seat, is pitted against K. Sivadasan Nair, the Congress legislator who represented the Pathanamthitta seat which has disappeared after the delimitation of constituencies. "Why should I have any doubt about the outcome when Aranmula is my hometown? Each and everyone knows me here even though I was a legislator in the neighbouring constituency," asked Nair.
The Tripunithura seat in Ernakulam district is a fight between 20-year Congress legislator from this constituency K. Babu and C.M. Dinesh Mani, the CPM legislator who shifted from neighbouring Palluruthy seat, where in the 2006 polls he had defeated then Congress minister Dominic Presentation.
Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode district will see an interesting battle between two independent legislators. While U.C. Raman, who is supported by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), has been representing the seat in the last two elections, P.T.A. Rahim comes here from the nearby Koduvally seat, where he made headlines after trouncing K. Muraleedharan - the son of former chief minister K. Karunakaran - in the 2006 polls.
At the Kannur seat, it is a battle royale between an old war horse and the present Minister of Devasom, Kadanapally Ramachandran, who is pitted against Congress legislator and firebrand youth leader A.P. Abdulla Kutty. Kutty had left the CPM and joined the Congress party ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, winning the Kannur assembly seat through a by-election.
At least seven of these 14 legislators will get the tag of ex-legislator when the results are announced starting May 13.