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Kerala Assembly Election 2021, Punalur Profile: UDF ally IUML to seek control of CPI bastion

The seat has consecutively elected a CPI representative in all elections since 1996.

Punalur Assembly Election 2021 | Punalur is an Assembly constituency in the Kollam district of Kerala. It is one of the seven Assembly seats that fall under the Parliamentary constituency of the same name. The election to the state will be held on 6 April and results will be out on 2 May.

K Raju of the CPI, who is also a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan government, is the sitting MLA of this constituency, while NK Premchandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party is the current MP from the Lok Sabha seat.

This time CPI has fielded PS Supal in place of Raju in keeping with its three-term policy. The UDF, meanwhile, has given the seat to ally IUML, which has fielded Abdul Rahman Randathani. On NDA’s behalf, BJP has fielded Ayoor Murali.

Past election and results

Kollam district witnessed a spectacular red wave in 2016, becoming the only district to have elected a Left Democratic Front candidate in all Assembly segments. The constituency of Punalur also has elected an LDF candidate more times than it has favoured the UDF. The seat has consecutively elected a CPI representative in all elections since 1996.

In 2016, Raju had defeated IUML’s A Younus Kunju with a margin of 33,582 votes.

In 2011, Raju had cinched a win against Congress’ Johnson Abraham with a margin of over 18,000 votes.

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 Kollam alone, there are 20,93,511 voters of which 9,97,190 are male and 10,96,308 are female. There are 13 third-gender voters in the district.

The Punalur constituency has 2,02,411 registered voters ahead of the 2021 elections of which 96,180 are male and 1,06,228 are female. Three voters have registered themselves as the third gender.

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 70.62 percent of registered voters had come out to vote in the Punalur Assembly constituency, of which 69.05 percent were male and 72.03 percent were females.

Population and demography: Total population of the Kollam district is 2,635,375 as per census 2011. Hinduism constitutes 64.42 percent of the Kollam population. Muslims are in minority in the Kollam district, forming 19.30 percent of the total population here. Christians constitute of the 16 percent of the population.

Out of the total Kollam population for 2011 census, 45.05 percent lives in urban regions of district, whereas 54.95 percent of its population lives in rural areas.

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 counting of votes will be done on 2 May.

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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