`BJP had sent feelers to CPI(M) on common candidate'

THRISSUR, APRIL 24. The BJP district president and the party candidate for the Thrissur Lok Sabha constituency, P.S. Sreeraman, said here today that his party had sent feelers to the CPI(M) on putting up a common candidate against the Minister for Power, K Muraleedharan, in the Assembly byelection at Wadakkancherry.

Addressing a `Meet-the-Candidate' programme organised by the Thrissur Press Club, Mr. Sreeraman claimed that the CPI(M) district leadership had originally agreed to consider this proposal.

"Our suggestion was that a Hindu candidate contesting the election on an Independent symbol could be a common candidate against Mr. Muraleedharan, considering that Wadakkancherry has a substantial portion of Hindu voters. The CPI(M) had initially agreed to consider the proposal. But two days later, the CPI(M) announced a Muslim candidate, and this indicated that they were not keen on defeating Mr. Muraleedharan,'' he said.

At Mukundapuram, the CPI(M) refused to give an Independent symbol to the LDF candidate, Lonappan Nambadan, in spite of his request, Mr. Sreeraman said. Mr. Nambadan would have won more votes if he had contested with an Independent symbol. But the CPI(M) did not appear to be keen on defeating the Congress candidate, Padmaja Venugopal", he said.

All these indicated the recent efforts of the CPI(M) to enter into a tie-up with the Karunakaran faction, Mr. Sreeraman said.

He said that it was the BJP that had first said that the main aim in Wadakkancherry should be to defeat Mr. Muraleedharan. It was in that context that feelers were sent to the CPI(M). There was no formal discussion between the CPI(M) and the BJP on the issue. But some sections had contacted both the CPI(M) and BJP to explore the possibility of putting up a united candidate against Mr. Muraleedharan. And the BJP had accepted the proposal, he said.

Mr. Sreeraman said that even though the BJP was still keen on seeing Mr. Muraleedharan defeated, there was no scope for further talks on a united fight against him.

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