N.J. Nair

State poll panel categorises these regional parties as ‘registered unrecognised parties.’

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: As many as 20 regional parties in the State, including the Congress (Secular) and two factions of the Kerala Congress, will get a right to demand their own symbols for their candidates in the local bodies elections in 2010.

The Kerala State Election Commission is understood to have categorised these 20 regional parties as ‘registered unrecognised parties’ and thus they have become eligible to seek their own symbols in those segments where they decide to contest.

While the Congress (S) is a constituent of the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the Kerala Congress (Jacob) and Kerala Congress (B) are part of the United Democratic Front (UDF). The commission has included the Communist Marxist Party (CMP) headed by M.V. Raghavan, the Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi (JSS) led by K.R. Gouri, three splinter groups of the RSP and the PDP in this category.

The Kerala Congress (Secular) too figures in the list, but the party headed by P.C. George has merged with the Kerala Congress (M) in the interim. The main advantage for the parties in this category is that they will have a say over allocating symbols to Independent candidates.

Otherwise, their nominees will not be able to contest elections on a common symbol. If a party decides to field candidates in more than one ward in a panchayat, municipality or corporation or contest in different civic bodies in areas where they wield considerable clout, having a common symbol would give an edge over their rival groups. Campaigning would become more easy and effective.

Most of these parties have their elected representatives in the existing governing committees, and, in certain places where the LDF and the UDF run the administration on a thin majority, such groups have a significant role in maintaining the balance.

Frequent changes in the governing system owing to change in political combinations have often created political instability which derailed implementation of development projects in the local bodies.

The commission has recognised the Janata Dal (Secular), Kerala Congress (J), Kerala Congress (M) and Indian Union Muslim League as State parties. ‘A lady farmer carrying paddy on her head’ is the symbol of the Janata Dal (S). While the Kerala Congress (J) reserves ‘bicycle,’ the Kerala Congress (M) has ‘two leaves’ and the IUML, the ‘ladder.’