ALAPPUZHA: Hectic parleys are on in the LDF, UDF and NDA to finalise candidates in Alappuzha and Mavelikkara Lok Sabha constituencies in Central Travancore. The UDF has not yet officially announced its candidates. But it is almost sure sitting MPs will be fielded again to retain the seats. The LDF has unofficially announced the candidates in both segments and sitting MLAs of the front will fight it out against sitting MPs of the UDF.
The parliament mandalam committee of the CPM on Wednesday approved Aroor MLA A M Ariff as the LDF candidate in Alappuzha Lok Sabha constituency. The CPI state committee has approved Adoor MLA Chittayam Gopakumar as the LDF candidate in Mavelikkara. The NDA is also in final discussions to find suitable candidates to take on both fronts.
Former union minister and sitting MP K C Venugopal will contest from Alappuzha again whereas Kodikunnil Suresh will contest from the Mavelikkara (Reserved) constituency. Both leaders have a major role to play at the Centre and the Congress is not ready to experiment with new faces.
CPM district secretary R Nazar said Ariff is the most suitable candidate to upset the Congress applecart. “Ariff was elected thrice from Aroor to the state Assembly in 2006, 2011 and 2016. He became the representative of the constituency in 2006 after defeating K R Gowri of the JSS. It was advantage LDF in the 2016 Assembly election as the front bagged six out of seven Assembly segments. The vibrant leadership in the state will also be a plus point in the coming election,” Nazar said.
ALSO READ | Kerala CPI(M) to go ahead with sitting MPs
DCC president M Liju said the UDF is not considering any other names than sitting MPs Venugopal and Kodikunnil. “Both leaders performed well in the Parliament sessions and they were successful in presenting various issues of the state at the Centre. Their energetic leadership will be an added advantage in the two constituencies,” he said.
Mavelikkara is a reserved constituency and the CPI considered many leaders before finalising Chittayam Gopakumar’s name. Gopakumar represents Adoor reservation constituency since 2011 and his leadership qualities forced the party to field him in Mavelikkara. BJP district president K Soman said discussions are in the final stages to find the NDA candidates for the two constituencies. “The BJP will contest in the Alappuzha constituency and an NDA partner is likely to contest from Mavelikkara. The names of the candidates will be announced in a few days,” he said.