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Tough LS poll battle returns to Kerala’s Chalakudy after a decade

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Kochi, March 21

A tough Lok Sabha poll battle has returned to Chalakudy constituency in Kerala after nearly a decade.

While the Congress has decided to retain Benny Behanan the sitting member, the CPI(M) has brought in former state Education Minister, C Raveendranath and the BJP-led NDA has fielded KA Unnikrishnan who belongs to its ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS).

The last poll battle here was seen in 2014 when the CPI(M) sprang a surprise and fielded one of Malayalam film industry’s most liked and popular actors Innocent, who took on PC Chacko, a battle-scarred Congress veteran and sitting Lok Sabha member from Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency.

Innocent shocked many by winning with a margin of over 13,000 votes.

After a few years, Innocent was diagnosed with cancer. After he went into remission the CPI(M) asked him to contest again in the 2019 polls, but this time the popular comedian did not have the last laugh and lost by over 1.30 lakh votes to Congress veteran Behanan.

After that loss, Innocent concentrated on his profession, but cancer got the better of him and he passed away on March 26, 2023.

With its prestige at stake, the CPI(M) decided to bring back Raveendranath, the soft spoken, retired college Professor, who is more known for being an educator than a politician.

His term as the Education Minister from 2016-2021 passed without any controversy.

However, the Congress appears confident, as four out of the seven Assembly segments in the Chalakudy Lok Sabha constituency were won by Congress candidates in the 2021 Assembly polls, even though Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan won a stupendous victory and became the first to retain office after a five year term.

The NDA appears to be equally confident that the ‘Modi Guarantee’ which is the key campaign point for them, will be able to tilt things in their favour. But it seems a tough ask as in the 2021 polls, their candidate managed to get just 1.28 lakh votes.

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