UDF`s CM probable Chandy sitting comfortably in Puthuppally

Seeking the mandate for the 10th time after nine wins in a row is something rare in the slippery terrain of Kerala politics.

Updated: Apr 04, 2011, 12:00 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking the mandate
for the 10th time after nine wins in a row is something rare in the slippery terrain of Kerala politics.

But not so in the case of Congress`s chief ministerial
probable Oommen Chandy, who is back in the fray in his pocket
borough Puthupally.

Even his foes would say that only a miracle could
bring about his defeat but his main rival CPI-M`s Suja Susan
George says a miracle is possible even in Puthupally as the
people are wishing for a change.

Known locally as "Kunjunju", 68-year-old Chandy has
won from the rural segment on the periphery of Kottayam town
with handsome margins in 1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991,
1996, 2001 and 2006 elections.

He is one of the few top Congress leaders, who has
never shown any interest in running for Lok Sabha polls.

Apart from his personal charisma and electoral record,
the UDF has also no political reason to worry about victory
since the Congress along with its allies had lifted all the
eight panchayats in the constituency in the civic polls last
year.

"Chandy is known to everybody here.It will be
difficult to find a single voter who has not approached Chandy
for one thing or the other, whichever party he or she
belongs," said Philson Mathew, who looks after Chandy`s
campaign.

"Moreover, he has nurtured Puthuppaly well in all these years without mingling politics in his duties as MLA,"
he said.
Entering politics through the Congress`s student wing
KSU, Chandy was just a 27-year-old when he contested the polls
from Puthuppally in 1970.

Along with his seniors A K Antony and Vayalar Ravi,
Chandy has played a major role in making the Congress a strong
force in Kerala, especially after the 1969 split.
Now that he is the captain of the UDF, Chandy is wanted in all over the state to campaign. Knowing this, his
campaign managers have deployed squads of workers to go
door-to-door canvassing votes for their leader.

Though the Congress has not made an official
announcement of Chandy being the CM candidate, the UDF workers
do not have any doubt that he is going to occupy the top seat
if the UDF wins.
The UDF campaign has also received shot in the arm
with Chandy`s 2006 opponent and former SFI leader Sindhu Joy
quitting the CPI-M and rushing to canvass vote for the
Congress in Puthupally. Sindhu was defeated by Chandy with a
margin of 19,863 votes in 2006.

"Sindhu`s campaign for Chandy has taken whatever
little wind was left in the LDF`s sail," a local Congress
functionary said.

But LDF contestant Suja Susan George has refused to be
disheartened by the claims of the rival camp.

The social composition of the constituency with a
total electorate of 1,55,071, comprises different castes and
creed though Christians of different denominations are the
largest community.

PTI