Elections 2019: 'CPI(M) losing its grip on Alathur has rattled Left Democratic Front'

Updated: Apr 23, 2019, 16:20 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Congress candidate from the constituency Ramya Haridas says Sunday's stone-pelting incident was a clear indication that CPI(M) fears its defeat

Congress candidate Ramya Haridas during her last campaign for today's elections
Congress candidate Ramya Haridas during her last campaign for today's elections

Alathur (Kerala): Soon after being discharged from a Thrissur-based hospital, where 33-year-old Ramya Haridas, a popular Congress candidate from Alathur constituency, was undergoing treatment for the blunt injuries she had received in a stone-pelting incident on Sunday, said, "This is not the first attack on me. The fact that the CPI(M) is losing its grip on Alathur has completely rattled the Left Democratic Front (LDF). The people of this constituency have been electing P K Biju of CPI(M) as the MP, but this time they are supporting me, and I'm confident about winning. These attacks are a clear indication that the CPI(M) fears its defeat." Ramya, who is a trained classical singer, is the daughter of Radha, the current state secretary of the Congress' women's wing. At most of her election campaigns, she raised core issues through various songs to garner support.

"For the first time, an otherwise CPI(M) stronghold, is slowly and gradually supporting Ramya," said Anil Akkara, a Congress MLA from Alathur. Ramya alleges, "The CPI (M) had earlier tried to tarnish my image on social media by saying that singing was not allowed in the Parliament. And when I did not give any importance to this, they indulged in character assassination. I have given a written complaint to the police regarding this, but no action has been taken."

She added, "Even after Sunday's incident, the police recorded my statement along with the other injured, but no arrests have been made." When asked whether she had sought police protection, Ramya said, "I have not requested for police protection. I have nothing to worry about in Calicut, which is my hometown, as people there know me really well." Meanwhile, the doctor who treated Ramya at the hospital, said, "We have advised her bed rest, as she has sustained blunt blow trauma, though there are no major injuries. We have prescribed some pain killers as well." The three main contenders from Alathur district constituency are P K Biju of CPI (M), Ramya Haridas of Congress, T V Babu of Bharath Dharma Jana Sena.

The clash

Speaking about the stone-pelting incident, P S Sabu, superintendent of police and the police chief of Palakkad district, told mid-day, "The situation was normal till 6pm on Sunday when the official campaigning period came to an end. Ramya and MLA Anil Akkara from United Democratic Front (UDF), along with their supporters were passing from near the LDF office, where hundreds of CPI(M) workers had gathered. When we asked members of both the parties to make way for each other, verbal altercations started, which eventually led to the clash. Anil, Ramya, a couple of policemen and an LDF leader were injured in the stone-pelting." When asked whether a case had been registered regarding the matter, Sabu said, "We have registered three cases – one for attacking policemen, another against LDF workers for hurting the MLA and Ramya and the third one against UDF for injuring the LDF leader – at Alathur police station. No arrests have been made in the case yet."

District goes to polls today

The district police chief further said, "We have about 2,110 polling booths across the district, and out of this, 364 stations are said to be sensitive. Additional state and central police force, including Border Security Force have been deployed at these booths." "Also over a 100 troublemakers on our record have been taken into preventive detention. Security has been beefed up at Alathur as well," he added. When asked whether they had arranged for Ramya's police protection, Sabu said, "We had deployed two officers at the hospital for her security. If at all she writes to us seeking police protection, we will provide her."

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