Kottayam: Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency, home to a large number of rubber cultivators and one of the primary trading centres of natural rubber, is all set to witness a fierce fight between sitting MP and UDF candidate of KC-M, Jose K Mani, and LDF`s JDS nominee Mathew T Thomas in the April 10 polls.
The election is a prestigious one for UDF as Mani, who is seeking second term in Parliament, is the son of K M Mani, Finance Minister and Chief of KC-M, the third largest partner in the ruling Congress=led UDF.
Victory for UDF is all the more important as Puthupalli, the Assembly segment of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, falls in this constituency.
"I am cent per cent confident of victory as people will recognise the development works initiated by me," Jose Mani told PTI.
On the rubber price issue, he said, "I have carried out protests inside and outside Parliament on the matter."
Mathew T Thomas is presently the MLA representing Thiruvalla Assembly segment and was also a minister in the previous LDF government headed by V S Achuthanandan. He is JD(S) state president.
"Campaign is going on in full swing and soaring prices of essential commodities and fall in rubber price are some of the issues being highlighted in election meetings," he told.
People of the constituency had shown an interesting preference in electing candidates to Parliament.
Congress candidate won in the elections in 1989, 1991 and 1996, while the CPI-M nominee of LDF repeated the victory in the polls in 1998, 1999 and 2004.
Jose Mani recaptured the constituency from LDF in 2009 by a huge margin of more than 71,000 votes defeating CPI-M firebrand leader Suresh Kurup, now an MLA in the Assembly.