Special Correspondent

KOCHI: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader C.K. Padmanabhan said on Sunday that the party’s role in the byelection was significant as it was a single party fighting against two Fronts consisting of several parties. Mr. Padmanabhan, who is also the party’s central executive council member, challenged the main opposing parties, the Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to contest as separate parties.

He was inaugurating the electoral convention of Sobha Surendran, the party’s candidate for the byelection in the Ernakulam Assembly constituency.

He said both the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) were raising global issues when basic amenities were denied to the citizens. People in Ernakulam were living in pathetic conditions, he said adding that lack of civic amenities had led to the spread of various diseases. The Fronts were protecting their own interests in the name of development, he said.

Mr. Padmanabhan also criticised the process of selection of candidates by the Fronts.

The rival fronts were guided by religious considerations while selecting candidates, he said.

Ms. Sobha said the party’s intention to nominate women to positions of leadership was evident from the selection of a woman as the candidate in Ernakulam. Party senior leaders, P.J. Thomas, Shyamala S. Prabhu and P.M. Velayudhan were among those who spoke.