Kerala assembly elections: Victory margin at Dharmadam to boost Pinarayi Vijayan's CM chances

Pinarayi Vijayan and Mambaram Divakaran
Key contestants: Pinarayi Vijayan (LDF), Mambaram Divakaran (UDF), Mohanan Manantheri (BJP) 

Sitting MLA: K K Narayanan (CPM) 

1) Pinarayi Vijayan 

Strengths:

Having served the party for three terms as Secretary of CPI(M) and contributed to managing its affairs on the ground level for nearly 20 years, 72- year old Vijayan is the perennial Chief Minister candidate in waiting. While the party has not announced its Chief Ministerial candidate, Vijayan would be the frontrunner to be the next CM if LDF wins majority. Dharmadam, situated in the politically sensitive Kannur district also includes his home town Pinarayi and is a traditional stronghold for the party. In the last assembly elections held in 2011, LDF's victory margin was around 15,000 votes.  

Weakness:

Vijayan's only worry is the gradual increase in the vote share of the BJP, and the problems it could cause in the event of a close contest with the Congress candidate. The party polled 4,983 votes in 2011 and in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls it nearly doubled its tally of votes. No wonder, Vijayan has been heard constantly reminding his party workers not to be overconfident and to work hard till the day of the polls to bring new voters into the fold. 

2) Mambaram Divakaran 

Strengths: 

Divakaran is a known candidate in the constituency, having contested in the same seat last time but had lost to the CPI(M) candidate. He is banking on the developmental and welfare projects undertaken by the Oommen Chandy government. 

Weakness: 

Anti-incumbency of his ruling government is a huge factor. Also winnability is a factor as he could not defeat the then LDF candidate in 2011 - at a time when UDF swept the State. 

3) Mohanan Manantheri 

Strengths:

Will be betting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proactive, non-corrupt image and the opportunity of a third strong political force in the State. The party also saw an increase in its votes in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. 

Weakness:

BJP is not a major player in the State where Communists parties and the Congress dominate the political mindspace.  

Likely result: 

Pinarayi vijayan is all set to win as the constituency is a red bastion for the LDF. 

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