Kerala BJP chief K Surendran loses Konni and Manjeshwar seats

11:34 PM, Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

K Surendran Kasaragod :  K Surendran was defeated from Konni constituency in Pathanamthitta district. Surendran is at a distant third position, with only 32,811 votes, while LDF Jenish Kumar got 62,318 votes and UDF’s Robin Peter got 53,810 votes. In Manjeshwar, from where he contested and lost in the 2016 election as well, Surendran lost to UDF’s AKM Ashraf by more than 1,200 votes.

Surendran, who hails from Kozhikode district, contested in Konni aiming to get some advantage from Sabarimala issue as he was projected as the man who had led the BJP’s campaign against women between 10 and 50 years entering Sabarimala. He contested from Manjeshwar as he had been contesting from there since 2011. In the 2016 election, he lost to Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) by just 89 votes.

Surendran, who is from Kozhikode district, started his political career in the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and rose to become the state president of the party in 2020.

In the 2019 Konni Assembly bye-polls, it was proven that the Sabarimala would not help BJP to get a win there. It was LDF’s Jenish Kumar who emerged victorious from Konni in Pathanamthitta district with 54,099 votes. While UDF candidate P Mohanraj came second with 44,146 votes, Surendran could only poll 39,786 votes and came in third.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Surendran contested from Pathanamthitta, where the Sabarimala temple is located. It was the epicentre of the entire controversy over entry of women of all ages into the temple. The BJP’s decision to make K Surendran contest from Pathanamthitta in the Lok Sabha polls had made it clear that the party believed the seat was within their grasp. He also got a good number of votes in Konni, Adoor and Aranmula Assembly constituencies, which comes under the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency.

While he secured 46,506 votes from the Konni Assembly segment of Pathanamthitta Parliamentary constituency in 2019, in the bye-poll election later that year, he managed to secure just 39,786 votes.

The Konni constituency has been a UDF bastion – or rather an Adoor Prakash bastion – with the Congress leader winning from the seat for 23 years. Later, Adoor Prakash was elected to Lok Sabha, Jenish Kumar broke his legacy and won in 2016.

Surendran lost for 745 votes to AKM Ashraf of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), an ally of the United Democratic Front (UDF), in the 2021 election. Ashraf secured 65758 votes. Manjeshwar, however, is an important seat for both parties.

This was a prestige fight for the IUML as they faced a lot of criticisms over the corruption cases charged against the present IUML MLA MC Kamaruddin. It was the first time that IUML fielded a native of the constituency, AKM Ashraf.

It was an important fight for BJP’s Surendran too. He lost in the 2016 election by just 89 votes. He had alleged that bogus voting had resulted in his failure.

Manjeswar has been an unpredictable constituency since the 1990s. The constituency has always seen the victory of Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). Over the years, barring 2006 (In 2006, CPI(M) won the seat, while BJP came second.

On analysing the number of votes secured in the constituency so far, it shows that both BJP and IUML are strong parties in Manjeshwar. For that reason, it is a constituency where BJP has always held high hopes.

In 2011, BJP’s K Surendran was defeated as he secured 43,989 votes.

The constituency witnessed a tight fight in 2016. IUML’s Abdul Razaq won against BJP by a margin of just 89 votes. After Razaq’s death, MC Kamarudheen of the IUML won by more than 7,900 votes in the 2019 bye-elections. At the time, K Surendran had contested from Konni (and not Manjeshwar), but couldn’t win.

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