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Can Cong wrest Attingal constituency from CPI-M?

Can Cong wrest Attingal constituency from CPI-M?

Attingal: Attingal, once a winning ground of Congress and which later became a formidable CPI-M bastion, is all set to witness a blazing battle between CPI-M's sitting MP A Sampath and Mahila Congress state president Bindhu Krishna in the April 10 Lok Sabha polls.

Sampath's experience as two-time MP and his achievements in the development front and Krishna's fierce campaign and vibrancy will make the competition tough in this seat, which came into being in 2008 after delimitation of constituencies.

The constituency, which covers a major chunk of Thiruvananthapuram district, was Chirayinkeezh constituency till 2008.

Though it had a history of favouring both rival fronts in the early decades, CPI-M has won here in all six Lok Sabha polls since 1991.

The two-decade-long Congress dominance in the constituency ended in 1991 after CPI-M's Susheela Gopalan, widow of veteran leader A K Gopalan, popularly known as AKG, seized the seat from Thalekkunnil Basheer by a margin of 1106 votes.

Since then, Attingal has remained as a bastion of CPI-M and sent its candidates to Lok Sabha without any second thought.

Veteran CPI-M leader Varkala Radhakrishnan set a hat trick victory by winning continuously from here in the 1998, 1999 and 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

The development issues, especially of infrastructure, is the major debating point of both the Fronts.

The association of Sampath, son of CPI-M veteran K Anirudhan, with the constituency began with his victory here in the 1996 Lok Sabha polls, defeating Congress's Thalekkunnil Basheer.

In 2009, Sampath defeated Congress' G Balachandran by 18,341 votes. However, in the 2011 Assembly polls, LDF gained majority only in three of the total of seven segments.

Sampath is seeking a third term from the constituency, projecting his developmental achievements and the statistics of effective utilisation of MP funds.

Claiming to be one of the Keralite MPs who has spent the maximum amount of their funds in their respective constituencies, he said he has concentrated more on improving the infrastructure of Attingal.

Sampath said he set up large number of roads to ensure better connectivity and constructed anganvadis, libraries and hospital buildings for commoners.

Meanwhile, Bindhu Krishna, who entered politics through Congress youth wing Kerala Students Union, has been entrusted the heavy responsibility of wresting the constituency from CPI-M, ending its two decade-long success saga.

Countering the sitting MP's claim, she alleged Sampath had done nothing to fulfill the long-pending demands like the development of Chirayinkeezhu and Kadaykkavur railway stations and for setting up Attingal bypass and Mountain Highway.

"Spending some amount of MP funds is not the lone responsibility of people's representative. Sampath failed to address any of the constituency's fundamental issues," she told PTI.

She said the sitting MP had also failed to address the issues of health, education and fisheries sectors and traditional industries here.

Though BJP has not much of an influence in Attingal, its candidate S Girijakumari is a strong contender.

Beginning her political career in CPI-M, she quit the party after serving as president and vice president of Vellanad Panchayat in various years.

The total electorate in Attingal constituency is 12,23,358, of which 6,64,200 are women.


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