Kerala Assembly election 2021, Kovalam profile: Congress' M Vincent won in 2016, likely to face Jameela Prakasam from JD(S)
Reports say that both JD(S) and Congress are likely to retain their candidates from the seat but either party is yet to make an official announcement on their candidates
Kovalam Assembly Election 2021 | Kovalam is an Assembly constituency in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. It falls under the Thiruvananthapuram Parliamentary constituency. In 2016, M Vincent of Congress won the seat by defeating Jameela Prakasam from Janata Dal (Secular).
However, this time around, Vincent is dogged by a case of sexual harassment, rape and abetment to suicide against him.
Congress is also at a loss due to the death of the veteran leader and former MLA George Mercier in September last year. Mercier was the MLA between 2006-2011 and was an active member of trade unions and had also served as the Thiruvananthapuram Congress District Committee vice president.
Congress has retained its sitting candidate from the seat but JD(S) has replaced Prakasm with her husband and three-time MLA A Neelalohithadasan Nadar.
Nadar is also the JD(S) general secretary and has been a three-time MLA from this constituency, which is primarily a collection of coastal fishing villages and where the Nadar community is known to hold sway.
Past election and results
The seat has traditionally flip-flopped between the JD(S) and UDF, often voting against the trends observed in rest of Kerala.
Congress candidate Vincent unseated JD(S)' Prakasam in 2016 with a margin of 2,615 votes. But one year into his tenure, Vincent was accused of rape, intimidation, and abetment to suicide by a 51-year-old woman from his constituency.
He has been charge-sheeted in the case and is out on bail currently, but the matter remains sub judice. Congress may, however, decide to field Vincent again despite the criminal charges against him. Meanwhile, ironically, JD(S) nominee Nadar, has also been accused of sexual harassment by a woman IAS officer in 1999. Nadar had been found guilty by a lower court but later a fast track court exonerated him of the charges in 2008.
Nadar's wife Prakasam had fought and won the elections in his stead in 2011 defeating Mercier with 7,250 votes.
Before that, Mercier had taken the seat from current JD(S) candidate and Prakasam's husband Neelalohithadasan Nadar in 2006.
Elections in Kerala have traditionally been a contest between the UDF and the LDF with power swinging between the two groups.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Congress-led UDF had won 19 out of the state’s 20 Lok Sabha seats banking on incumbency against the ruling LDF. However, repeating a similar feat in the Assembly polls is going to be an uphill task for the UDF.
The LDF has not only managed to overcome anti-incumbency in the 2020 local body polls, but also managed to make inroads into UDF votebanks, particularly in Thrissur, Ernakulam, and Kottayam districts.
The NDA, which is emerging as a third front in Kerala, will be hoping to increase its tally in the Assembly polls. However, given that the BJP-led NDA didn't meet the expectations in the 2020 local body polls despite making gains, its ability to impact the either the UDF's or LDF's prospects in the Assembly election remains unclear.
In the local body polls, however, the people have shown a clear preference towards the CPM-lead Left Democratic Front (LDF). Since 1979, only once, in 2010, has the United Democratic Front (UDF) upset the apple cart.
Total electors, voter turnout, population
Electors: According to the Election Commission of India, the total number of registered electors in the state is 2,67,31,509, including 1,29,52,025 male, 1,37,79,263 female and 211 third gender voters.
In the district of Thiruvananthapuram alone, there are 27,69,272 voters of which 13,15,905 are male and 14,53,310 are female. There are 57 third gender voters in the district.
Voter Turnout: The overall voter turnout during the 2016 Assembly election was 74.01 percent. The percentage voter turnout of women voters excluding the postal ballot was 73.67 percent and that of men voters excluding postal ballot was 74.37 percent in the Kovalam Assembly seat.
Population and demography: The Assembly constituency has 2,15,002 registered voters, according to the Election Commission data published in January this year. Of these, 1,05,175 voters are male while 1,09,825 are female. There are two registered transgender voters in the constituency.
Election date and timing
The Kerala Assembly/Niyama Sabha polls will be held on 6 April, 2021, along with Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The day will also see phase three polls in Assam and West Bengal.
The Kerala Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) has a total number of 140 seats, of which, 14 seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and two seats are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes.
The outgoing Assembly has eight female MLAs and rest 132 are male MLAs. The current Kerala Niyamasabha session will expire on 1 June, 2021.
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