Monday, April 13, 2009

A Brief History of Parliament Elections in Attingal

Yesterday, after posting a hastily written piece about the overall election scene in Attingal, I started a research about the history of elections in Attingal. Google was the obvious starting point. However, I could find information only up to the 1984 election in websites and blogs (which even I managed to recollect somewhat correctly). What happened before that? Disappointed by the information available on the internet, I hit the junction in my village and sought the help of a veteran local communist leader, who, incidentally, is known by the nickname EMS. (Talking about communist nicknames, there is another local activist nicknamed Castro, although there is no "Che" around as far as I know.) He was slightly drunk. Not Honey Bees or Baccardis, mind you. He had had what is locally known as Arishtam, a crudely created "kick"-providing beverage, masqueraded as an Ayurvedic medicine. Despite the visible "kick", he rolled out names with amazing clarity. I crosschecked the information with some other sources as well and compiled the following list.

The Early Stages

Up to 1957, there had been three MPs. The first one is a Varma, a member of Kilimanoor family. (Nobody seems to remember his full name. Anybody out there?) Afterwards, NS Pillai and VP Nair served as MPs. In 1957, MK Kumaran (father of MK Bhadra Kumar, the diplomat and external affairs expert, whose name was initially projected as the LDF candidate here for this election) won the parliament election. He retained the seat in 1962. He represented the undivided Communist Party of India. In 1967, in the election after the Communist Party of India had been split into CPI and CPI(M), K. Anirudhan (father of Adv. A. Sampath, the present LDF candidate) of CPI(M) was elected as MP from Chirayinkizhu, as this constituency was known then.

The "Congress" Decades

The next two decades were the golden decades for Congress in Chirayinkizhu. In the 1971, Vayalar Ravi, then a fiery Youth Congress leader, ended the communist dominance. He won again in the 1977 elections, which had been held immediately after lifting the Emergency. However, that government lasted just over two years. In 1980, AA Rahim extended the upper hand of Congress(I).

The results after 1984 are reasonably better known. In the 1984 elections Thalekkunnil Basheer, the Congress candidate, rode on the sympathy wave following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. (Thousands of people had gathered at major junctions on the sides of the National Highway to have a glimpse of Rajeev Gandhi. In contrast, when Rahul Gandhi came here last month, the only people watching him were those unfortunate souls stuck in the traffic jam.) In 1989, Basheer won again. This time, the sympathy waves originated from Rajeev Gandhi's assassination. However, that victory effectively marked the end of Congress era in Chirayinkizhu constituency.

Turning Red

From then on, it has been communists all the way. Susheela Gopalan won from Chirayinkizhu in 1991. In 1995, Adv. A. Sampath, then more of a young political tyro than the worldly-wise version at present, tasted victory. Later, he had frequent run-ins with the official leadership of the party. Anyway, he did not get ticket in the next election. Instead, CPI(M) fielded Varkkala Radhakrishnan, a popular leader with strong roots in the region. He won from Chirayinkizhu in 1998, 1999, and 2004. After the demarcation of electoral constituencies, some more places have been into this constituency and the name has been changed Attingal. Will the name change herald a change in winning ways? Wait and watch.

PS: I do not claim this to be authentic information, though I hope so. Please feel free to add any information or correct any factual errors here.


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Anonymous said...

I like your spirit man... in the years to come this might be the most authentic source of information on parliament elections in Attingal.