Thiruvananthapuram: Looking to defend his Lok Sabha seat, Union minister Shashi Tharoor is facing a twin challenge from CPI and BJP in Thiruvanathapuram as the campaign gains momentum in this sprawling constituency which has a reputation for throwing up surprises and upsets.
While CPI, to which LDF has allotted the seat, has fielded political debutant Bennet Abraham, BJP has brought back senior leader O Rajagopal to turn the contest into a three-horse race, as was the case in 2004.
Although it enjoys a reputation for being a progressive area, the caste and religious belief of candidates have often proven to be a key factor in deciding the outcome here.
That would explain why CPI zeroed in on Abraham, who belongs to the numerically-strong Nadar community, to be its candidate for the seat.
A doctor by vocation, Abraham is also a member of the Church of South India, to which the vast majority of the Nadar community in the area belongs. He is also the director of a medical college run by the church.