Parties struggle with candidate lists for Kerala polls

Thiruvananthapuram, March 19 (IANS) Even a fortnight after the dates of Kerala assembly elections were notified, neither traditional rivals, LDF and UDF, nor BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have finalised their list of candidates to the 140-member House.


While the United Democratic Front (UDF), led by Congress, has always been sluggish in announcing its candidates due to inter-party and intra-party party squabbles over seat allocations, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) tends to act with dispatch.

No longer.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and other LDF constituents have had three rounds of talks so far, but have not been able to decide the candidates.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), hoping this time to open its account in the Kerala assembly, last Sunday surprised many by releasing the first list of 22 candidates, but then got bogged down.

On Friday, the national leadership of the BJP was unhappy with the state leaders, who were in New Delhi to finalise the seat sharing within NDA, for going public with the list.

State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran has sent a ‘jumbo list’ of about 400 probables for 82 seats to its national leadership and now the election committee will do the pruning in the coming week.

This committee has Vice President Rahul Gandhi, former defence minister A.K. Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Sudheeran.

“Things would be settled in the coming week,” said Sudheeran.

In the LDF, issues have surfaced within the CPI-M, which is a bit surprising.

The accepted norm is that the list of candidates is sent from the 14 district committee’s of the CPI-M to the state committee and is given the nod quickly.

It has not happened this time with district committees struggling to finalise their own lists.

Angry scenes were witnessed, for instance, on Friday at the Alappuzha district committee meeting with leaders unable to arrive at a consensus on some seats.

The LDF, however, is meeting later on Saturday and is expected to finalise and distribute the seats among its constituents.

“This time four new ‘parties’ have crossed over to the LDF. So distribution of seats is taking a bit longer, but everything will be resolved soon,” said a top LDF leader who did not wish to be identified.

In the BJP, issues have surfaced over seat sharing with its new ally Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), the party recently founded by Vellapally Natesan, a Hindu Ezhava leader and general secretary of Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam.

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