Kerala Assembly Election 2021, Varkala profile: CPM's V Joy to defend seat against Congress' BRM Shafeer
The constituency was once a Red stronghold, electing a Left candidate in 11 of the 12 elections it saw between 1957 and 1996. However, the winning streak was broken in the 2001 elections
Varkala Assembly Election 2021 | Varkala is an Assembly constituency in the Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala. It is one of the seven Assembly seats that fall under the Attingal Parliamentary constituency. The election to the state will be held on 6 April and results will be out on 2 May.
V Joy of CPM is the sitting MLA of this constituency, while Congress' Adoor Prakash is the current MP from the Lok Sabha seat.
CPM has fielded Joy again to defend the seat. The Congress, meanwhile, has fielded a young lawyer named BRM Shafeer who is known as the 'one-rupee-lawyer' locally because of his humble beginnings and his endeavour to represent poor people in their cases for free. On NDA's behalf, ally Bharath Dharma Jana Sena has fielded Aji SRM.
Past election and results
Joy got elected as an MLA in 2016 for the first time from the seat, ending a 15 year dry spell for the Left party. The constituency was once a Red stronghold, electing a Left candidate in 11 of the 12 elections it saw between 1957 and 1996. However, the winning streak was broken in the 2001 elections when veteran CPM leader Varkala Radhakrishnan moved to the Lok Sabha and Congress' Varkala Kahar entered the fray.
Kahar won three consecutive elections before Joy managed to unseat him in the 2016 polls.
In 2016, Joy won the seat by defeating Kahar with a margin of over 3,000 votes. In 2011, Kahar had defeated CPM's AA Kareem with more than 10,000 votes despite it being his third run for re-election.
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 vote-banks, 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 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-led 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.
The Varkala constituency has 1,83,856 registered voters ahead of the 2021 elections of which 85,078 are male and 98,778 are female.
Voter Turnout: The overall voter turnout during the 2016 Assembly election was 77.35 percent. The percentage voter turnout of women voters excluding the postal ballot was 75.97 percent and that of men voters excluding postal ballot was 78.14 percent.
At least 71.46 percent of registered voters had come out to vote in the Varkala Assembly constituency, of which 66.08 percent were male and 75.95 percent were females.
Population and demography: Total population of the Thiruvananthapuram district is 3,301,427 as per census 2011. Hinduism constitutes 66.46 percent of the Thiruvananthapuram population. Muslims are in minority in the Thiruvananthapuram district, forming 13.72 percent of the total population here.
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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The ban went into effect at noon on Tuesday and will remain in place for 48 hours, stated the Election Commission order