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Homechevron_rightKeralachevron_rightRSP factor turns...

RSP factor turns battle in Kollam crucial for the Left

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RSP factor turns battle in Kollam crucial for the Left
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Kollam: Well before the Lok Sabha polls were announced, Kollam in Kerala began hogging the limelight with the CPI-M planning to put up its politbureau member M A Baby as the LDF contestant.

Within days of the declaration of the polls, Kollam became the epicentre of a political tremor, whose after effects were felt in Left circles all over the country, when the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) quit the LDF and crossed over to the Congress-led UDF.

The RSP took the 'hard decision' after the CPI-M 'mercilessly turned down' its plea to return the Kollam seat which it held as its field for long before it was taken over by the 'big brother in 1999.

In a deal clinched within hours, RSP's poster boy N K Premachandran was made the UDF candidate in Kollam, setting the stage for an intensely political battle in the April 10 polls.

Both Baby, a sitting MLA from the area, and Premachandran are familiar figures for voters here. They have an unsullied track record in politics and both are amiable and approachable.

So, the battle of the ballot is over politics, ideology and issues rather than a personality contest.

RSP's decision came as a rude jolt to CPI-M. But the party has overcome the shock and cranked up its organisational machinery fully to not only ensure the victory of its lone politbureau member in the fray, but to give a fitting rebuff to the 'defector.'

Kollam has mostly returned the Left, mainly RSP nominees, in the past. But in 2009 the seat was wrested from CPI(M) by Congress's N Peethambara Kurup, who was recently in the thick of a controversy over alleged misbehavior towards actor Shweta Menon.

The current political profile of the seat, going by the 2011 Assembly polls, is favourable to LDF, which bagged six of the seven segments falling under Kollam LS seat, including Kundara, from where Baby himself won. But RSP strategists opine that the political scenario has tilted in favour of UDF with their party moving to that coalition.

RSP had a strong trade union base in Kollam, one of the world's leading cashew processing centres. Though the cashew industry has declined over the years, RSP still has strong pockets of influence in the area.

According to RSP general secretary T J Chandrachudan, his party was forced to snap ties with the LDF due to the 'high-handedness' of the CPI-M.

PTI

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