SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan brought into sharp focus the issue of political representation of the Ezhava community when he said in Paravur early this week that the community’s presence had shrunk to just three MLAs in the Congress-led coalition government.

Mr. Natesan told The Hindu on Thursday that the Congress (I) fielded Ezhava candidates only in constituencies where the party’s chances were slim while other communities gathered strongly behind their own candidates. This had largely to do with the group rivalries within the Congress (I), he claimed.

He also conceded that the situation was much better for the community’s political representation under the Left Democratic Front government.

While conceding that Mr. Natesan had raised a relevant issue, former parliamentarian and media critic Sebastian Paul wondered if it was right to divide political constituencies on the basis of caste.

‘Politically conscious’

He said it was not true that the community had not received proportionate representation in the current State assembly. According to him, the Ezhava community is a politically conscious community and its members have voted according to their political preferences.

In that respect, Mr. Natesan’s fears may be misplaced. Dr. Paul said the Ezhava community had not been marginalised in the democratic political process.

Role questioned

Shivan Madathil, advocate, said Mr. Natesan did not represent the Ezhava community, but only his business and political interests. What was Mr. Natesan’s contribution to the society in Kerala, Mr. Madathil asked and blamed the media for giving such leaders too much space and thus compromising India’s secular credentials.

Dr. Paul said both the political fronts came neck and neck in the last Assembly elections and it could be possible that there were contests between Ezhava candidates in different constituencies. Only a detailed analysis of the election results in each of the constituencies could bring out a clear picture, he added.

Vellappally Natesan said Congress (I) fielded Ezhava candidates only in constituencies where the party’s chances were slim.