LDF gives poll tickets for several defectors, cadres and voters baffled alike

LDF gives poll tickets for several defectors, cadres and voters baffled alike
Sindhumol Jacob

Thiruvananthapuram: Is defection a sure bet to get a nomination to contest the legislative assembly polls in Kerala especially on behalf of the Left Democratic Front (LDF)? The candidate list of the ruling political combine has sown such a doubt in the minds of a large section of the Left cadre.

The list comprises the names of a few candidates who had switched parties to join those in the LDF. Such is the mess created by the generosity shown to defectors that the LDF has apparently jeopardised its electoral prospects in the Piravom legislative assembly constituency in Ernakulam district with a flawed candidate selection.

The last two days witnessed an ungainly drama as the Kerala Congress (Mani), an LDF constituent, announced Sindhumol Jacob as the candidate for the Piravom seat. Soon, the CPM Kottayam district and its Uzhavoor branch committee confused its own party cadre and the voters in general by issuing conflicting statements about her association with the party.

As Sindhumol was reportedly associated with the CPM until recently, its cadres wonder whether the CPM had loaned the candidate to the Kerala Congress (Mani). She was in fact a member of CPM’s Uzhavoor branch committee for 14 years and had even won as a CPM-backed independent candidate in the December 2020 civic polls and a few other panchayat polls earlier. The branch committee had expelled her after the Kerala Congress announced her candidature, and the Pala area committee ratified the decision on Thursday. However, the Kottayam district committee clarified that she had not renewed the party membership when it was due last December.

On Thursday, the district body thus issued a formal statement, clearing the air over the muddle. But the damage was done by then as sources say it would need a miracle for Sindhumol to emerge the winner here as few CPM followers are unlikely to back one who had betrayed the party.

Legal experts also vouched that there is no bar if a candidate who had been contesting as an Independent (in civic polls) contests on the poll symbol of a state-level party like the Kerala Congress (Mani).

The Chalakudy and Vandoor cases

The LDF candidate in Chalakudy, Dennis K Antony, was with the Congress till a week ago. Realising that the CPM won’t be in the fray in Chalakudy and the seat would go to Kerala Congress (Mani), Antony made some deft moves to ensure an LDF ticket for himself in order to contest from the constituency. He was previously the district secretary of the Youth Congress.

P Midhuna, previously of the Muslim League, had created history by becoming the president of Pallikkal Panchayat at a young age of 22. Now 28, she is the LDF’s candidate in the Wandoor reserved constituency for a Scheduled Caste candidate. In between she was suspended by the Muslim League.

Other turncoats

The LDF has also fielded K P Mohammed Mustafa in Perinthalmanna in Malappuram district. He was earlier with the Muslim League.

K P Sulaiman Haji, the LDF candidate in Kondotty, was the leader of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC), a Muslim League arm for non-resident Indians.

Former secretary of the Youth League, minister K T Jaleel is again seeking the mandate from Thavanoor on an LDF ticket. Former Congress leader and sitting MLA V Abdurahiman is again representing the Left in Tanur.

Left’s candidate in Koduvally Karat Razak was also with the League earlier.

The list is exhaustive. The Left has once again fielded P T A Rahim, former Muslim League leader and Koduvally block panchayat president, in Kunnamangalam.

KPCC secretary M S Vishwanathan resigned from the party recently after CPM promised to field him in Sultan Bathery. Former Youth Congress vice-president P V Sreenijan, who joined CPM two years ago, was awarded with the party ticket to contest from Kunnathunad. The Front has fielded Shelna Nishad in Aluva, hoping to tap the influence of her father-in-law and senior Congress leader K Muhammadali who had reprsented this constituency several times.

Pramod Narayanan, seeking the mandate from Ranni, has the experience of working with both the CPM and Congress. He is currently the general secretary of the Kerala Congress (Mani).

The CPM-backed independent in Chavara, Dr Sujith Vijayan, is the son of the late N Vijayan Pillai, who has been with the Congress, the DIC and the CMP!

CPM fields Ramesan in Manjeshwaram

CPM has named V V Ramesan as its candidate in Manjeshwaram, the northenmost constituency in Kerala. The announcement was delayed due to intra-party differences over picking the candidate.

The party had also discussed the names of K R Jayananda, V P P Musthafa and M Shankar Rai at its district, constituency and state level before zeroing in on Ramesan.

The district committee’s nominee, Jayananda, had faced stiff opposition from the party cadre.

Devarajan won't take on CM Pinarayi

The Forward Bloc has decided no to field its national general secretary G Deverajan against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Dharmadom.

The party’s central committee, which vetoed pitting Devarajan against Vijayan, decided to name another candidate in Dharmadom.

The committee felt that fielding Devarajan against a senior CPM leader like Vijayan would dilute its anti-BJP political stand. Forward Bloc is part of the Left Front in West Bengal and Tripura.

The Congress had asked the Forward Bloc to field Devarajan in Dharmadom, a CPM bastion in Kerala's Kannur district.

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