The Opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF) would formally announce its candidate for the upcoming Piravom Assembly byelection early next week.

Front convener Vaikom Viswan told reporters after a meeting of the LDF State committee here on Thursday that the name of the candidate would be formally decided by the CPI(M) State committee, which would be meeting here from November 21 to 23. His reply came when asked to comment on reports that the Ernakulam district committee of the CPI(M) had decided to field M.J. Jacob, who had contested in the Assembly election against the eventual winner the late T. M. Jacob, in the constituency.

Mr. Viswan said that LDF's election convention at Piravom would take place on November 24 and would be attended by Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan, C. Divakaran (CPI), N.K. Premachandran (RSP), Mathew T. Thomas (JD-S), A.C. Shanmughadas (NCP), P.C. Thomas (KC-Anti-Merger Group), and Ramachandran Kadannappalli.

IRE, KMML

He said the LDF committee had also adopted a resolution calling upon the government to take urgent measures to save the Central public sector Indian Rare Earths (IRE) Limited and the State public sector Kerala Minerals and Metals Limited (KMML) at Chavara in Kollam district and allay the fears of the people whose lands were sought to be taken over for mineral sand mining.

Developments relating to the two institutions seemed to suggest that an attempt was on to privatise them. The Chief Minister should call an urgent meeting to resolve the crisis in the mineral sand industrial sector. There were reports that the Chief Minister was planning to convene a meeting of all concerned on November 28. But this would be too late and could result in a serious crisis, Mr. Viswan pointed out.