Expect candidate lists by March 10; LDF, UDF expedite selection

Thiruvananthapuram: Voters in Kerala would have to wait at the most a fortnight more to know the candidates of major parties for the assembly election scheduled for April 6. The list of candidates could be released by March 10, two days before the issue of gazette notification on the election.

The LDF, the UDF and the NDA -- the three principal political fronts in Kerala -- have expedited the process of selecting their candidates for all the 140 assembly constituencies.

The CPM State Committee has been convened on March 5 for preliminary discussions on the candidates.

The Congress will hold state-level discussions on candidates only after the UDF high-power committee meeting on March 3. Party leaders are planning to go to Delhi with the draft list on March 5.

The BJP has asked its leaders to convene the district-level leadership meetings and prepare a shortlist of candidates.

The Left Democratic Front

The Left Democratic Front has convened meetings of its district committees and assembly committees from Monday to Wednesday. The candidate list that will be drawn up at these meetings will be presented before the LDF state committee for its review. Prior to this exercise the state secretariat will meet.

The recommendations of the state committee would be sent back to the district and assembly committees for their consideration.

Once the lists are approved by the district and assembly committees, the state secretariat will meet and finalise the names.

The CPM, which leads the LDF, has decided to conplete the entire process by March 10 .

The CPI executive committee is meet on March 3. Its district councils have been ordered to send a list of probables. Thereafter, the CPI executive committee and the state council will meet again and finalise the list of candidates.

Meanwhile, the seat-sharing talks among the coalition partners of the LDF could be over in the next two days. The CPM has already completed one round of discussion with all coalition partners including the CPI. After another round of discussion with the CPI leadership, the CPM will hold talks with Kerala Congress (M) leaders.

The United Democratic Front

The Congress, which leads the United Democratic Front, had made a head start in seat-sharing talks with its allies. It will hold discussions with the coalition partners before the UDF meeting on March 3.

The party will hold discussions with leaders of ally Kerala Congress (Joseph) on Monday, but P J Joseph who is under treatment for Covid-19 will not attend. The Congress is reportedly planning to allot it less than 10 seats. Mons Joseph, MLA, who is Joseph's trusted aide, has made it clear that his party will stick to its demand for 12 seats.

PJ Joseph and KM Mani
PJ Joseph and KM Mani

Congress leaders are expected to hold talks with the Muslim League leadership in Kochi on Sunday. The League has demanded four more seats. However the Congress is willing to give only two additional seats.

The League has demanded Koothuparamba, Palakkad and Pattambi too in addition to its traditional seats. Last time it had put up own candidates on 24 seats.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party, which has demanded six seats, is likely to get 5. Kerala Congress ( Jacob) has demanded one more seat but will have to settle for just Piravom.

The Communist Marxist Party (John) faction has requested the Congress and the League to spare the Thiruvambady seat for its leader C P John.

Forward Bloc national secretary G Devarajan has been asked to contest against chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Dharmadom. However, he has not conveyed his decision yet.

The Bharatiya Janata Dal is expecting one seat.

Mani C Kappan's Nationalist Congress Kerala has sought one more seat besides Pala. Congress has suggested that the party could try its luck from A K Saseendran's Alathur.

Meanwhile, KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran has directed the election committee members to give the names of candidate choices in writing.

National Democratic Alliance

The state leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which heads the National Democratic Alliance -- the third significant political grouping in Kerala -- has been ordered to finalise the candidates soon. The list is expected to be finalised in Delhi by March 10.

Prior to that the election committee will meet and prepare the list of probables. BJP state president K Surendran is likely to go to Delhi with the names of candidate choices.

K Surendran
K Surendran

The primary list of candidates will be prepared after getting the recommendations of the district leadership besides the inputs of surveys carried out in different areas. The BJP election committee will meet on March 7 for this purpose.

Prahlad Joshi and Ashwath Narayan, who are among the state in-charges for the assembly polls, are overseeing the selection process.

C P Radhakrishnan and Sunil Kumar, other in-charges, have already visited 70 assembly constituencies each and prepared a report based on the inputs they received.

The seat-sharing talks with the Bharath Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) will be held in a day or two.

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