The Left Democratic Front (LDF) candidate in Kollam, M.A. Baby, has said that the Congress has “outsourced” its contest to the Lok Sabha from the Kollam constituency by giving up its sitting seat and fielding the Revolutionary Socialist Party’s (RSP) N.K. Premachandran as the United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate.

He was speaking to The Hindu while meeting voters at the venue of the Velinellur Thekkevayal annual farm festival on Friday morning. Mr. Baby said that as a friend and former cabinet colleague in the previous LDF government he felt sad that Mr. Premachandran had become a victim of this outsourcing. He said he would have been all praise for Mr. Premachandran had he contested independently as an RSP candidate after leaving the LDF.

He said Mr. Premachandran had joined the UDF at a time when those in the Congress itself were trying to flee that party. With the third round of his campaigning under way, Mr. Baby said he had more reasons to feel confident. “What matters to the voters is political principles and acceptance of the candidate.”

Mr. Baby, who leaves home before 6 a.m. each day to meet voters, said that during his campaign he had learnt that the RSP decision to join the UDF was taken without the concurrence of the rank and file. This antipathy would generate votes for the LDF, he said. His priority would be short-terma and long-term projects to address the drinking water problem of the constituency, he said.

Mr. Baby disputed claims of a “Modi wave” in the country. “Narendra Modi is now a big burden for the Bharatiya Janata Party.”

“After the 1984 election the Congress could never win a majority in the Lok Sabha. In this election the Congress and the BJP together will not garner 50 per cent of the votes. There is much potential for the Left and regional parties that are neither with the Congress nor the BJP,” he said.

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