Election fever set to heat up Kerala politics

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 | Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: With the announcement of the date for the elections to the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala, the political scenario in the state is set to heat up even as the opinion polls predict a poor show by the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and a good showing by the rival Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) amid a likely stiff challenge from the BJP-led NDA.

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Major parties and alliances are busy bracing up for the electoral battle. In a few days the important candidates for all the constituencies across the southern state will be known, though the CPM and the IUML formally announced theirs on Saturday.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 - Kerala

In the LDF, the CPM will contest 16 seats and the CPI will field candidates in the remaining four seats. The latter had announced its candidates a week ago. Congress is awaiting the nod of the party leadership in Delhi before announcing its candidates.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 | Kerala

UDF seat sharing over

The UDF has decided to allot two seats to the Muslim League and one each to Kerala Congress and RSP. The Muslim League’s demand for a third seat has been tackled by offering the party another Rajya Sabha seat. The Kerala Congress, which had sought a second seat, finally agreed to settle for one on Sunday, but P J Joseph has staked claim for it.

The draft list of the Congress candidates is ready. With Congress president Rahul Gandhi arriving in Kerala for a two-day visit on March 13 and 14, the party is planning to announce its candidates at least by March 12.

Lok Sabha Elections 2019 | Kerala

Challenge for LDF

The CPM has decided to field four MLAs and two district secretaries for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Considering the severe odds it is faced with, especially in the aftermath of the Sabarimala fiasco and shocking political violence in the state, the party has chosen the strongest possible candidates, including two women, in the 16 seats it would be contesting in Kerala this summer.

A Pradeep Kumar, PV Anwar, MA Arif and Veena George are the four CPM legislators chosen to contest the Lok Sabha elections. They would be in the fray from Kozhikode, Ponnani, Allappuzha and Pathanamthitta constituencies respectively.

LDF parties upset

Posing trouble to the CPM, its minor allies in the LDF camp are seething with anger as they have been overlooked in allotting seats to contest.

The Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) led by M P Veerendrakumar had been promised the Vadakara seat when it had switched allegiance from the UDF to the LDF. But alleging that the party has been totally ignored in the seat-sharing process, LJD is reportedly planning a rebellion in the front. The party is expected to take a final decision on the matter at its state committee meeting to be held on March 11.

CPM Kannur district secretary P Jayarajan is set to contest from the Vadakara constituency.

Another party that is aggrieved over the seat division in the LDF is the Janata Dal (S), which had contested from Kottayam in the previous elections. With the CPM taking over the seat, a section in the JD (S) has demanded fielding its own candidate in Kottayam. The development has become a cause for worry to the LDF leadership.

BJP list awaited

The BJP is yet to announce its candidates though a tentative list has been prepared by its four senior leaders in Kerala and sent to Delhi.

The state leadership says that the opinions and suggestions of grassroots-level workers had been sought and they were conveyed to the Central leadership. The state leadership has been directed by national leaders that the BDJS, which is a major partner in NDA, also needs to be given due importance while deciding the candidates.

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