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A 10th election, a 10th constituency - meet Kerala's rolling stone

Wednesday April 06, 2011 03:25:07 PM, Sanu George, IANS

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Thiruvananthapuram: Seeking greener pastures is nothing new for Kerala's veteran politician M.V. Raghavan. In nine assembly elections, he has fought from nine different constituencies and he is on to yet another seat for the April 13 polls.

Raghavan, 77, whose Communist Marxist Party is part of the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF), is contesting from Nenmara in Palakkad district where he takes on Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator V. Chenthamarakshan.

Starting off his legislative career with the CPI-M in 1970, he was instrumental in moulding the outlook of party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

He had to leave the CPI-M in the late 1980s after which he formed his own outfit, Communist Marxist Party. He has since then aligned with the Congress-led UDF.

Raghavan's right hand man C.P. John, who is trying his luck for the first time in electoral politics, says it will be a tough fight.

"Raghavan is pitted against a 'son of the soil'. That advantage cannot be discounted but the fact that Raghavan is a colossus in his own right also cannot be taken lightly," John told IANS.

From 1970 onwards, as part of CPI-M, he won four consecutive terms from four different constituencies in the party stronghold of Kannur district.

After he was booted out of the party in the 1987 assembly polls, he won from Azhikode constituency, considered a bastion of the CPI-M, coming through with ease because of his popularity in Kannur district.

In the next assembly polls in 1991, he won from Kazhakootam constituency in Thiruvananthapuram district and went on to become a minister in the K. Karunakaran cabinet.

But, in the 1996 assembly polls, Raghavan tasted his first defeat when he lost to popular poet and literary figure Kadammanitta Ramakrishnan in Aranmula constituency in Pathanamthitta district.

Unperturbed, he continued with the UDF and in the 2001 polls he contested from yet another constituency in Thiruvanathapuram, which incidentally houses the CPI-M's state headquarters. He won hands down and went on to become a minister in the A.K. Antony cabinet.

Bad luck fell upon him yet again when, in the 2006 polls, he moved to yet another constituency, Punalur in Kollam district, where he lost to K. Raju of the Communist Party of India (CPI) by a margin of less than 8,000 votes.

With age catching up and his health failing, many felt would bow out of electoral politics. But the indefatigable Raghavan now wishes to try his luck once again.

After tough bargaining with the Congress top brass - even though he did not get the constituency he wanted - he was given the Nenmara seat.

"All of Raghavan's previous campaigns since 1987 were managed by me, but this time unfortunately, since I am also contesting, I have to be here all the time. But we both are hopeful," said John.

Kerala will hold polls to 140 assembly seats April 13.



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