Kerala

Kuttanad bypoll a litmus test for both fronts

KC(M) factional feud plagues UDF, tough call on candidate selection for LDF

The byelection for the Kuttanad Assembly seat is still months away, but it is already turning out to be a tall order for major political fronts in the State. The seat fell vacant after the death of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA Thomas Chandy.

The feud in the Kerala Congress (M) between factions led by Jose K. Mani and P.J. Joseph has put the United Democratic Front (UDF) in a quandary. With both the factions laying claim to Kuttanad and a truce between them unlikely soon, a section in the Congress is pressing to take the seat back from the KC(M).

Amidst the tussle in the KC(M), the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee has deputed P.T. Thomas, MLA, and other leaders, who were in charge of the Aroor Assembly byelection, to coordinate UDF’s electioneering in Kuttanad.

According to Congress leaders, the party will not remain a mute spectator to the bickering in the KC(M). “We have not yet held any discussions with the KC(M) on taking the seat back. But the Congress leadership has conveyed its displeasure to leaders of the KC(M) factions,” said a Congress leader.

LDF candidate

In the Left Democratic Front (LDF), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) may not be able to nominate a suitable candidate to replace Thomas Chandy, who won the seat thrice in a row. Although talks of fielding someone from the family of Thomas Chandy are doing the rounds, there are no grounds for the LDF to be complacent as it tries to retain the seat.

The CPI (M) district leadership had earlier demanded that the party take back the Kuttanad seat from the NCP. However, with 2021 Assembly election not far away, it is to be seen whether the LDF and CPI (M) would approve such a move.

The bypoll will also be a challenge to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). In 2016, NDA candidate Subash Vasu of the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) had polled 33,044 votes in the Kuttanad constituency.

However, Mr. Vasu, who is general secretary of the BDJS, is now leading a rebellion against the BDJS and Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam leadership. BDJS president Thushar Vellappally said the BDJS candidate would be decided later.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 2:43:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kuttanad-bypoll-a-litmus-test-for-both-fronts/article30505476.ece

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