THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It’s advantage LDF. When the first round of poll campaign gets over, the ruling CPM-led combine has indeed made much headway. The LDF was not only able to complete candidate selection without much bickering but also successfully end phase I of the campaign even as the UDF and BJP-NDA are yet to finalise candidate selection.
Of the eight sitting MPs, the LDF dropped two - CPM’s P Karunakaran(Kasargod) and CPI’s C N Jayadevan(Thrissur) while deciding to retain the rest of them . Though there were some minor protests from C N Jayadevan, compared to the high-pitched opposition from P J Joseph over the KC(M)’s denial of Kottayam seat and the protest by KV Thomas after being overlooked for the Ernakulam LS seat, it was just a whimper.
On the other hand, of the UDF’s 12 sitting seats, as per the first list only seven will contest - five from the Congress, both from the IUML and one from the RSP. While Congress’
M I Shanawas has passed away, Kerala Congress (M) leader Jose K Mani has shifted to the Rajya Sabha. Of the remaining three, K V Thomas has been dropped while Mullappally Ramachandran and K C Venugopal have expressed their lack of interest in contesting. Meanwhile, there are demands from various corners that Mullappally should contest.
The Left was able to complete the candidate selection and first phase campaigning without any difficulty and the second phase will begin by March 23, said LDF convener A Vijayaraghavan. Unlike the UDF, the LDF was able to complete seat- sharing without any in-fight among the partners and first phase campaign is on, he said. The house visits and public campaigns by candidates will begin soon.
“Obviously we got the advantage of first entry into the poll scenario. The Left leadership was able to hold grassroots meetings before finalising the candidates.
The bickering and infights within the UDF - those within the Congress and the KC(M) - have also worked to our advantage. Therefore the LDF was able to secure political and organisational advantage. This has definitely served as a confidence booster,” he said.
The UDF has been finding it real difficult to zero in on candidates at certain seats.
Obviously the UDF has not been able to maintain the upper hand that it enjoyed a week ago. Weak candidates in some constituencies and infight are posing a major threat to the winnability in these seats.
The BJP-NDA hasn’t finalised candidates in any of its 20 seats.
The candidature of former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan for the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat has almost been confirmed. However, the demand for certain seats - Pathanamthitta, Thrissur and Palakkad - within the saffron party is no secret.