In politics, friends and adversaries are not forever

Politics brings odd bedfellows together. It’s common during elections to see candidates from opposing fronts who have previously battled joining forces as members of the same coalition yet representing distinct constituencies.

An intriguing example involves the UDF nominee K Francis George (Kerala Congress-J) in Kottayam and the Congress candidate Benny Behanan (the front) in Chalakudy. Benny competed against Francis, the LDF candidate, in the 2004 Idukki election. Francis prevailed by a total of 69,384 votes.

Over the last two decades, the Meenachil River has quietly flowed, giving rise to many factions within the Kerala Congress and seeing several political dramas unfold. Presently, Francis is a member of the Congress-led UDF. As a UDF contender, the two-time MP from Idukki is now scouting Meenachil in its epicenter, Kottayam.

Benny took up the Chalakudy LS seat for the UDF in 2019. Benny and Francis are now members of the same flock of birds.

Thomas Chazhikadan, Francis’s adversary in Kottayam, had a like tale to share. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Kerala Congress (M) leader had beaten V N Vasavan of the CPM. At that time, the KC(M) was a part of the UDF. At the moment, Vasavan is in charge of Chazhikadan’s election campaign. Former Kottayam NDA candidate P C Thomas is now with the KC (J).

“Despite the splits, the Kerala Congress had a state representative after its formation in 1964,” notes Tomichan P. Mundupalam, a prominent leader of the Kerala Congress in Idukki who participated in the UDF’s 2004 election campaign.

In previous assembly elections, two NDA candidates ran as UDF candidates. In the 2016 elections, Baiju Kalasala, the BDJS candidate in Mavelikara, was the Congress nominee for the Mavelikara assembly seat. The BJP candidate in Kannur, C Reghunath, ran against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Dharmadam in 2021 as a nominee of the Congress.

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