Balram vs Rajesh, it’s battle royale between two youngsters

When one party gives stress on performance, the other says it is a fight between ideologies

The battle cry of a fierce contest is heard loud and sharp in Thrithala. The CPI(M) has pitched its former MP of Palakkad against the Congress’s feisty incumbent in Thrithala. What awaits political Kerala is one of the fiercest electoral fights between two young candidates.

Hell-bent on annihilating incumbent V.T. Balram, who has been representing Thrithala since 2011, the CPI(M) has fielded M.B. Rajesh. His youthfulness and “combat skills” are the key factors that brought him to Thrithala to take on Mr. Balram.

Mr. Balram is more than an adversary for the CPI(M). He has been treated as an enemy since he started attacking the CPI(M), its ideology and its leaders a few years ago. The face-off between the CPI(M) and Mr. Balram had led to many showdowns, both on social media and in physical mode. The CPI(M) has been boycotting Mr. Balram in Thrithala for the last several years.

Pitting Mr. Rajesh against Mr. Balram has sent signals strong enough to validate the allegations of “vendetta politics” being followed by the CPI(M). Mr. Balram has reportedly become used to different kinds of insults from the CPI(M). On many occasions, the CPI(M) local leaders had insulted him by walking away from stages of even official programmes whenever he mounted the podium.

Mr. Rajesh said that it would not be a personal fight. Rather, it will be a fight between two ideologies, he said. According to Mr. Rajesh, elections are fought between parties and their ideologies and policies, and not between leaders. He would be approaching the voters seeking their endorsement of the policies of the LDF government.

Mr. Balram too said that he would be seeking re-election on the basis of his performance over the last 10 years. For about two decades, the CPI(M) had represented Thrithala in the Assembly. Mr. Balram said he made himself approachable and available for the people “any time anywhere.”

“I am seeking votes for being a representative available to them to address their issues and woes,” he said.

It will be Mr. Rajesh’s first attempt to the Assembly. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Palakkad in 2009 and 2014. A State committee member of the CPI(M), Mr. Rajesh is a postgraduate in economics and also has a law degree. He was SFI State secretary, DYFI State and national president.

Eight years younger to him, Mr. Balram has degrees in engineering and law and is a postgraduate in business administration. In 2016, he defeated the CPI(M)’s Subaida Ishac by 10,547 votes. In 2011, he beat CPI(M)’s P. Mammikutty by 3,197 votes.

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