KOCHI: Even as the state’s political circles are agog with feverish speculation as to how the BJP’s vote share will impact the rival fronts in Kerala, two nascent parties, comparatively new to electoral politics, are all set to make their presence felt, if not give jitters to the major parties in the upcoming local body polls.
The Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the Welfare Party have already completed their spadework for the elections and are likely to play spoilsport for the UDF, particularly the Indian Union Muslim League(IUML), while the CPM-led Left bloc may also suffer in some pockets.
The SDPI and the Welfare Party have decided to field candidates in almost all the wards across the state as they not only want to take stock of their political clout but are also keen on announcing their presence in the state’s electoral politics. These parties had fought the last Lok Sabha polls and won enough votes to give a headache to both the UDF and the LDF fronts in their respective bastions. Though, relatively fringe players, their presence can make a big difference at the local polls.
The SDPI, which is into its second LSG polls in Kerala, has 11 elected members in the existing panchayat councils, including a block panchayat member from Vazhakkulam in Moovattupuzha. “In the last LS polls, we managed to garner nearly 48,000 votes in Malappuram and 25,000 votes in Ponnani respectively. Besides, we secured more than 10,000 votes in 11 LS constituencies,” said P Abdul Hameed, general secretary of the SDPI.
“Our performance would not only hurt the IUML but others also. But the IUML seems to be the most worried among them, given their knee-jerk reaction to our poll foray,” the SDPI leader said. The IUML’s desperate attempt for the delimitation of panchayats and wards in some areas was aimed at splitting our votes as well, he claimed.
Hameed Vaniambalam, state president of the Welfare Party of India, said his party could spring some surprises for both the fronts, particularly the IUML and the CPM. “This is our first LSG polls since the formation of the party. We have presence across the state and would field candidates in all wards. As per an internal survey, we hope to finish second in 300 wards,” he said. The party is aiming to turning this groundswell of support into a favourable outcome, especially in some wards in Malappuram, Wayanad, Thrissur and Ernakulam.
“Our study shows that the party was successful in building up a separate vote base of its own and is occupying an independent space. Though it would impact every party, it is the IUML that is most upset with our presence. Mostly because they realise that ours is a vote base that cannot be bought over,” Hameed added.
IUML state general secretary K P A Majeed, however, was confident that these parties would have little impact on the electorate. “We find the BJP, the SDPI and the Welfare Party on the same line and strongly oppose them. They were in the poll fray earlier and had tasted bitter defeat. They will suffer the same fate this time as well,” he said.