Kazhakkoottam suspense confuses BJP workers

BJP leader Shobha Surendran. Photo: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The delay in naming the candidate in Kazhakkoottam has left the BJP workers a confused lot.

Debates are raging among party activists, with some certain that Sobha Surendran will be the candidate in the constituency. Besides Kazhakkoottam, BJP is yet to nominate its candidates in Kollam and Karunagappally.

In Karunagappally, the party has not yet zeroed-in on a candidate. However, BJP is hopeful that it may win Kazhakkoottam, where V Muraleedharan came second in 2016.

It has been rumoured that the central leadership wanted Sobha Surendran to contest from Kazhakkoottam, but her name was dropped following opposition from the state leaders.

Pralhad Joshi, the minister in-charge of Kerala, had earlier requested Sobha Surendran to prepare for the contest. The woman leader also told the media that a senior leader had requested her to contest the polls.

Though her name was in the list of probable candidates in Chathannoor, she did not figure in the final list. Those close to Sobha Surendran alleged that party state chief K Surendran’s threat to resign led to her expulsion from the final list.

BJP takes back two seats from BDJS

Alappuzha: BJP has announced its candidates in Kodungalloor and Udumbanchola, after taking back the constituencies from BDJS.

Santhosh Chirakkulam is the BJP candidate in Kodungalloor, while Ramya Raveendran will contest from Udumbanchola.

The BDJS had announced its Idukki district committee secretary Santhosh Madhavan and Thrissur district general secretary Unnikrishnan Thashnath as its candidates in Udumbanchola and Kondungalloor, respectively.

The BDJS leadership was not informed of BJP’s move to take back the segments. They came to know of the development only after BJP had announced its candidates. It is learned that BDJS chief Thushar Vellappally expressed his displeasure over the move to the BJP national leadership.

Vellappally, however, told Manorama that he had not announced the party’s candidate in Kodungalloor. Following his statement, Unnikrishnan withdrew from the fray.

Indications are that BJP offered Kodungalloor to BDJS if Vellappally contested from the segment. BJP announced its candidate after it became clear that the BDJS leader would not be contesting from Kodungalloor.

Incidentally, BJP also announced its candidate in Vadakara, a seat BDJS has been demanding. BDJS has also demanded Kothamangalam and Kuttanad. The party is likely to field a prominent LDF leader in Kuttanad. The BDJS had earlier fielded a CPM leader in Cherthala.

BDJS, which fielded its candidates—including independents—in 38 constituencies in 2016, demanded 32 seats this time. While BJP will have its candidates on 115 seats, BDJS will contest on 21 seats. Two seats have been given to Anna DMK, and one each to Kamaraj Congress and C K Janu’s Janadhipathya Rashtreeya Sabha. Anna DMK and Kamaraj Congress will be contesting on BJPs’ poll symbol.

CPM leader defects, to contest on BJP ticket

Alappuzha: The CPM in the district lost one more leader to NDA when local committee member and Bharanikkavu Block Panchayat former member K Sanju joined the BJP. He will be contesting from Mavelikkara.

Sanju’s defection caught the CPM, and even his close friends, unawares. He was with CPM leaders till noon, before joining the BJP. He had unsuccessfully contested the Chunakkara panchayat council in the local body polls. The party has now expelled him from primary membership, according to B Binu, Charummoodu area secretary.

Incidentally, BDJS recently named a CPM local committee member and former president of Thanneemukkam panchayat, P S Jyothis, as NDA’s independent candidate in Cherthala.

BJP heavyweights to campaign in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah are among 20 central leaders in the primary list of campaigners in Kerala.

Modi, who will undertake a three-day tour of Kerala, will attend five mega rallies. Shah will address 10 public meetings, and BJP national president J P Nadda will be in the state for four days.

Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Nirmala Sitharaman, Nithin Gadkari, Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, Anurag Thakur, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath will tour Kerala for two days each.

Former Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, Tejasvi Surya, Ram Madhav and Devendra Fadnavis will also campaign for NDA in the state.

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