The Central Travancore district of Pathanamthitta, hitherto considered to be a traditional United Democratic Front bastion, has been badly rocked by the Communist Party of India(Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front in the just-concluded Assembly polls.
LDF has bagged three of the five Assembly seats in the district, giving a drubbing to both Congress(I) and Kerala Congress(M).
Denial of KC(M) ticket to the party general secretary Joseph M.Puthusserry, MLA, has not only evoked protests from various UDF quarters in Thiruvalla but also antagonized the Malankara Orthodox Church which has got strong presence in the constituency.
Mr. Puthusserry was the sitting MLA of Kallooppara Assembly segment, portions of which have been annexed to the Thiruvalla Assembly segment following the recent delimitation exercise.
Many UDF quarters were of the opinion that KC(M) could have effectively countered the popular, corruption-free image of the LDF candidate and former Transport Minister, Mathew T.Thomas of Janata Dal(S) in Thiruvalla by fielding Mr. Puthusserry who too had proved his mettle as Kallooppara MLA for a period of 15 years against the former.
Mr. Mani’s decision to field Mr Victor T.Thomas, who was defeated by Mr. Thomas in the previous Assembly polls, for a second time in Thiruvalla had evoked strong protests among the party workers too.
Meanwhile, antagonising the Malankara Orthodox Church, following denial of ticket to Mr Puthusserry who is a pet member of the Church, had made many highly placed Church quarters openly campaigning for the defeat of the UDF candidate in Thiruvalla.
There were reports of a section of the clergy and even a few bishops attached to the Church secretly campaigning against UDF in Thiruvalla and certain other constituencies in Central Travancore, protesting against the alleged sidelining of the Church’s interests by KC(M) and Congress(I).
Psephologists are of the opinion that the victory of Mr Mathew T.Thomas over his UDF rival by a margin of 10,767 votes in the just concluded polls was a clear indicator of the largescale public resentment against the decision taken by the KC(M) supremo, K.M.Mani in the selection of candidate for Thiruvalla.
It is noteworthy that Mr Anto Antony of Congress(I) could secure a lead of 15,459 votes from Thiruvalla alone in the 2010 Lok Sabha elections.
UDF defeat in Ranni, Adoor
Psephologists also attribute the defeat of UDF candidates in Ranni and Adoor also to the vehement stand adopted by the Church against it.
Mr Peelipose Thomas of Congress(I) has been defeated by Mr Raju Abraham of CPI(M) by a margin of 6614 votes.
In Adoor, Pandalam Sudhakaran, former minister and Congress(I) candidate, was defeated by Mr Chittayam Gopakumar of CPI by a margin of 607 votes.
Mr Puthusserry’s absence on the UDF campaign front and the studied silence of certain UDF quarters in Mallappally, Kallooppara, Anicaud, Kunnamthanam and Puramattom panchayats was, ofcourse, a matter of concern to the UDF in Thiruvalla.
Source: The Hindu 
PATHANAMTHITTA, May 13, 2011