LDF bets big on Kerala's Pala bypoll, eyes epoch-making debut win
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LDF bets big on Kerala's Pala bypoll, eyes epoch-making debut win

By The Indian Express calender  30-Aug-2019

LDF bets big on Kerala's Pala bypoll, eyes epoch-making debut win

On Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appeared confident when he said the forthcoming byelection to Pala Assembly constituency would be a referendum on the Left Government in the state. For the first time in its history, Pala constituency is all set to elect a different member to the Legislative Assembly. And the Left Front is confident of winning the seat for the first time ever. 
This would have been a mere claim had Kerala Congress supremo KM Mani still been around. With KM Mani no more and a few other factors in its favour, the LDF is hopeful of wresting the seat from the Kerala Congress. Left candidate, NCP’s Mani C Kappan has already begun campaigning.  
Sensing a winning possibility, the LDF is going for an all-out vigorous campaign, focusing on the state government’s achievements and developmental plans. An array of leaders from across the state, including Ministers, would camp at Pala during the third week of September for regional-level conventions.
“There are two different aspects that would be in play here. The Left would focus on politics and development. Going by the national political scenario, Left is the only credible alternative anywhere in the country. Secondly, the focus would be on developmental initiatives undertaken by the Left Government in the state. We would be approaching voters with the initiatives we have implemented so far,” said NCP leader and state Transport Minister AK Saseendran. 
Though Pala has been one of the strongholds of the Kerala Congress and hence the UDF over the years, this time the scenario seems to be different. In the past three Assembly polls,  same candidates have fought it out for the UDF and LDF here. “The majority of KM Mani, which was more than 25,000 till 2006, has been steadily coming down. Kappan, who took on Mani in 2006, 2011 and 2016, was able to bring down the majority to 4,700 by 2016. This downward trend would reflect in the polls,” Saseendran added.
While the LDF was able to complete its candidate selection without any issues, the UDF is yet to zero in on its candidate. Also, differences between the two factions - led by P J Joseph and Jose K Mani - are out in the open. The LDF is hopeful that internal bickering within the KC(M) would translate into additional points for the Left.  
To keep the vigour alive, the NCP is also trying to bring in its national president for campaigning this time. Prominent leaders from the state, including Ministers, have been told to be in the constituency between September 15 and 20. Meanwhile, there are also reports that there would be major changes in the NCP leadership after the bypoll. There are rumours that Saseendran and Thomas Chandy factions may arrive at a consensus over exchanging ministership after the polls. 

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