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SNDP not to back fronts

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SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan
SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan

K.P.M. Basheer

Yogam to back individual candidates based on their merit

SNDP Yogam to use a set of criteria

Vellappally says LDF list a ‘balanced one’

KOCHI: The Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam will support individual candidates in the Lok Sabha election based on their merit and not support any particular front as such.

Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan told The Hindu on Friday that the Yogam would not have an ‘either-or’ approach in the Lok Sabha election and that the individual candidate’s track record would be the sole criterion.

Mr. Natesan was this week asked by the board of directors of the Yogam to adopt an appropriate political strategy for the Lok Sabha election.

Last week, the Nair Service Society had held a huge rally in Thiruvananthapuram to assert its strength and put the Left Democratic Front on notice that it might stray from its principle of equidistance if the Nair community was ignored. Mr. Natesan said that in determining the support for an individual candidate, the SNDP would use a set of criteria. These included the candidate’s commitment to the welfare of the Ezhava community, his or her commitment to the cause of the Backward Classes and also the candidate’s interest in SNDP’s sense of social justice. In the case of sitting MPs seeking another term, the Yogam would look at how the MP had utilised the Rs.10 crore MPLAD (MP’s local area development fund). MPs who had spent a part of their funds for the welfare of the Ezhava community or supported an Ezhava development project would clearly have an edge over others. The candidate’s religion and caste would not be a major criterion in deciding the SNDP support, Mr. Natesan said. “We will surely help those who have helped us,” he added.

He said the list of candidates released by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) seemed to be a ‘balanced’ one. “It is a good mix of young blood and experienced people,” he said. “I appreciate the LDF leadership for choosing so many young people.” However, he said he was afraid that the squabbles in the LDF camp might upset the current balance.

Mr. Natesan appreciated Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil’s stand that bishops should not interfere in the selection of candidates by political parties. “I heartily congratulate the cardinal for coming out against the long-standing practice of bishops influencing political parties’ selection of candidates,” he said. “This will strengthen democracy in Kerala and curtail religious organisations’ clout on political parties.” He decried that certain bishops had become ‘power brokers and sponsors’ and some parties had succumbed to their undue clout. However, it needed to watch how far the cardinal’s instructions would be put to practice by the lower rungs of the church hierarchy, Mr. Natesan remarked.

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