Kerala Assembly polls: LDF faces revolt over ‘foisted’ candidates

Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling Left Democratic Front is witnessing a virtual revolt at the branch level of constituent parties over the ‘arbitrary’ selection of candidates.

In unprecedented scenes for cadre-based communist parties, workers of CPI-M and CPI at the branch level took out protest marches, with in the constituency of Kuttyadi taking the form of a revolt.

Their protest was against the allocation of the seat to the Jose K Mani faction of the Kerala Congress-M, which crossed over to the LDF from the opposition UDF, changing the community arithmetic in central Kerala.

As part of the seat adjustments, under which both CPI-M and CPI had to concede sitting seats to the new entrant, Kuttyadi was allocated to the Mani faction, infuriating the party cadre. The protesters claimed that Kerala Congress-M had no presence in the constituency and demanded that the party field a candidate on the sickle and hammer symbol.

The protesters ignored the possibility of their conduct inviting disciplinary action, but asserted that their fight was not against the party, but the wrong decision.

The constituency had earlier also witnessed protest marches, but the one on Wednesday was massive by local standards and lasted several hours. The earlier protests were in support of the claim of a local leader as the candidate, but that demand was dropped from the latest protest.

Allocation of three other strongholds of CPI-M, such as Vadakara, Nadapuram and Ranny, to other parties has invited the wrath of local partymen, who are not ready to accept candidate from the LDF constituents.

In the Chadayamangalam constituency, CPI workers staged protests against the nomination of party state secretariat member J Chinchu Rani and demanded that she be replaced by local leader A Mustapha. The seat was given to a lady to take care of women’s representation.

The CPI-M, which announced a partial list of candidates, has excluded five ministers and 33 sitting MLAs. Among the dropped heavy weights are finance minister Thomas Isaac, Alappuzha strongman G Sudhakaran and Speaker Sreeramakrishnan.

The party has opted to field new faces from student and youth wings as well as women in a bold experiment, which has met with stiff resistance from entrenched sections of the party in various regions.

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Free Press Journal