Kerala by polls- BJP to contest

via PNS | Kochi published on October 13, 2009

The Kerala BJP on Tuesday decided to field own candidates for the November 7 by-polls to three Assembly seats in the State. The list of candidates for the three seats – Kannur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha – would be announced on Wednesday.

Though the meet of the party leadership on Tuesday in Kochi was meant to discuss the selection of new State and district committees, the issue of fielding candidates in the by-poll dominated it. While one section, led by State president PK Krishnadas held that there was no need for changing the general norm in practice since 1980 that by-polls need not be fought, others opposed it.

The present official leadership opposed the idea of fighting the by-polls by pointing out that any drop in the number of votes the party candidates mustered could lead to charges of vote-trading and deliberate vote-leaking by candidates and leaders as it had happened in the past. They did not want to complete the term amidst such accusations. They said that the party should now start consolidating its energies to prepare for the civic elections due in a year.

However, those who opposed this view pointed put that such charges could come up even if the party did not contest the by-polls as there would be no mechanism to monitor the way in which the party votes would be distributed. They also argued that the party did not have many choices if it decided to support particular candidates in the three constituencies.

This section also argued that fighting the by-polls could help in waking up the workers and supporters for preparing for the panchayath elections. This argument was accepted towards the end of the meeting. It also decided to select the candidates on Wednesday. Opinion was also aired that State general secretary AN Radhakrishnan should be fielded in Ernakulam for the by-poll.

Among the three constituencies now going for the by-polls, the vote-share of the BJP in the 2006 Assembly polls had shown a perceptible fall in Ernakulam and Alappuzha constituencies from that in the 2001 election. Only Kannur had shown a slight increase in the votes bagged by the party.

When party candidate M Ramesh Kumar had bagged 3,960 votes in the 2001 election in Kannur, Bhagyaseelan Chalad was able to raise this to 4,519 in 2006. The number of votes bagged by party candidate PJ Thomas in Ernakulam in the 2001 elections was 7,729 but this plummeted to 4,902 in 2006 when Nedumbasseri Ravi was the BJP candidate. When D Krishnan of the BJP got 2,815 votes in Alappuzha in 2001, party candidate Parayil Radhakrishnan got only 1,118 votes in 2006.

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