Defers decision on Pathanamthitta
Dropping a clear hint to the raging differences of opinion and group squabbles over finalising the candidate for the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha segment, the Bharatiya Janata Party national leadership on Thursday released the list for 13 out of the 14 seats the party has decided to contest in Kerala.
Despite a fervent demand from the cadre and a strong backing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to field State general secretary K. Surendran in Pathanamthitta, the national leadership chose to defer its announcement for the contentious seat. As expected, former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharn would take on Shashi Tharoor (UDF) and C. Divakaran (LDF) in the capital.
The national leadership has chosen to ignore the claims of State president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and another general secretary M.T. Ramesh for Pathanamthitta and also ignored national executive member P.K. Krishnadas.
Another national executive member, Sobha Surendran, who had evinced interest to contest from Palakkad has been moved to Attingal and C. Krishna Kumar has been named for the seat, reportedly in honour of the RSS suggestion. Union Minister of State for Tourism K.J. Alphons, who had also lobbied for Pathanamthitta, has been named for Ernakulam.
Former Kerala Public Service Commission chairman leader K.S. Radhakrishnan, who switched loyalties from the Congress to the BJP recently, will contest from Alappuzha.
Rumours were rife that former Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan, who joined the BJP last week, would be fielded from either Ernakulam or Chalakudy, but the party chose A.N. Radhakrishnan for the Chalakudy seat.
With the CPI(M) fielding former Kannur district secretary P. Jayarajan and the UDF K. Muraleedharan, MLA, the fight in Vadakara is one of the keenly watched and intense political contests in the State. The BJP has pitted V.K. Sajivan against the two major candidates of the rival fronts.
Sabu Varghese (Kollam), Prakash Babu (Kozhikode), V.T. Rema (Ponnani), V. Unnikrishnan (Malappuram), C.K. Padmanabhan (Kannur) and Raveesh Thantri Kuntar (Kasaragod) are the other candidates figure in the list.
Pathanamthitta has virtually become a hot potato for the State as well as the national leadership. Since the ball is now in the court of the national leadership, it may not ignore the claim of Mr. Surendran who was in the forefront of the Sabarimala agitation.
But that would again lead to more dissent. For, the national leadership seems to have ignored the lists for various segments furnished by the State unit and decided to have its way. This would only deepen the differences in the party, sources said.