Thrissur: A keen electoral battle is in
the offing at Chelakkara assembly seat where Speaker and CPI-M
leader K Radhakrishnan is seeking election for the fourth
Congress has pitted KB Sasikumar to take on
Radhakrishnan, respected across party barriers as a "gentleman
politician" with an unblemished record.
It was the soft-spoken Radhakrishan who ended the long
domination of the Congress in Chelakkara in 1996 by defeating
the party`s candidate and went on to become a minister in the
LDF cabinet headed by late EK Nayanar.
There has been no looking back for him since then. A
47-year old bachelor, Radhakrishnan was elected from
Chelakkara again in 2001 and 2006, each time with increasing
In 2006, he became the Assembly Speaker after he retained
the segment with a huge margin of 14,629 votes.
Taking it as a prestige fight to wrest the seat, the
Congress this time has fielded 49-year old Sasikumar, son of
former minister KK Balakrishnan, who was elected from the
seat on a Congress ticket for five times from 1965.
Out of the ten panchayats in the segment four are now in
the hands of the UDF and the rest with the LDF. Development
issues of the segment are the main poll campaign taken by both
During campaigning, Radhakrishnan frequently points out
that Chelakkara was among the few least developed areas in the
state until a few years ago. But things had changed in the
last several years, he says.
A leader who emerged through campus politics as an
activist of SFI, Radhakrishnan`s biggest asset is his
simplicity and clean record in public life.
Hailing from a family of modest means, he still does not
own a home and lives in a small rented house.
However, UDF dispute his claim of ushering development to
the rural area. "There is nothing special about the work
carried out in the constituency since Radhakrishnan has begun
to represent it," a local Congress leader said.
Sasikumar was a government servant before opting for a
full time career as a politician, following the path of his
BJP has fielded VA Krishnakumar in the constituency, but
the party is not a major force here. Chelakkara has a total
electorate strength of 1,73,335, of which 82,512 are men and
90,323 are female voters.