The BJP has finalised its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, with veteran leader O Rajagopal contesting in Thiruvananthapuram, party state general secretary A N Radhakrishnan in Ernakulam and state general secretary K Surendran in Kasargod.
The state election committee, which met here on Friday, finalised the list and sent it for the central election committee’s approval.
The party is also considering a couple of other names, including Alphonse Kannanthanam for Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Chalakkudy; Sobha Surendran (Thrissur); P S Sreedharan Pillai (Pathanamthitta); C K Padmanabhan (Kozhikode); M T Ramesh (Kozhikode and Vadakara); Udaya Bhaskar and Krishnakumar (Palakkad). It also weighs the option of fielding candidates from outside the party who have wide acceptance, in some constituencies.
“The committee has entrusted the state president and former president P S Sreedharan Pillai to carry out detailed discussions and take decisions regarding candidates from outside the party. After going through the names put forth by the district units and lower fractions, the committee has formed a panel of candidates. The finalised list of three candidates will be sent to the central election committee, which will take the final decision,” said BJP state president V Muraleedharan.
Names of the remaining candidates will be finalised based on various factors like community equations and issues specific to the constituencies. “Regarding the independent candidates, we need to discuss with them first. Also, the Congress and CPM have not announced their candidates till now. We will decide the candidates to be fielded against them only after seeing their candidate list,” he said.
Party state president V Muraleedharan and national secretary P K Krishnadas will not contest the polls this time. “Though my name has been suggested from some units, I have decided not to contest in the polls this time. And permission for the same was taken from the top. Similarly, the name of P K Krishnadas was suggested by some units. But he informed he was not interested in contesting,” Muraleedharan said.
He said that the party has decided to contest from all the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state. A final decision on the candidates is expected to be made by next week, he said.