Loyalties change in Kerala ahead of Lok Sabha battle

 10 Mar 2014 - 10:04


Workers make BJP campaign flags at a workshop in Hyderabad.

Thiruvananthapuram:  Kerala is witnessing political somersaults in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.
The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) has decided to desert the Left Democratic Front (LDF) after 40 long years and return to the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).
But if the Congress celebrated, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), which heads the LDF, hit back.
The Marxists have roped in Philipose Thomas, a staunch loyalist of Defence Minister A K Antony and state Congress president V M Sudheeran.
Thomas has been named the LDF-supported independent candidate in the Pathanamthitta Lok Sabha constituency.
For 15 long years, Thomas was the district Congress committee president at Pathanamthitta. The Congress fielded him thrice in assembly elections but he never won. Thomas has already begun his campaign, now wearing the traditional red garland associated with the Left. 
The CPI-M managed another coup when it named V Abdurahman, a Congress leader and former vice chairman of the Ponnani municipality, at Ponnani in Malappuram, the stronghold of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML). The IUML is the second biggest ally of the Congress in the UDF. 
Antony not to contest 

Meanwhile, Antony will not contest the Lok Sabha polls from Kerala, a senior Congress leader said. Sudheeran said Antony, a Rajya Sabha member, had called him up after media reports about his likely candidature from Kerala and asked him to issue a denial.
“He has asked me to inform the media that he is not going to contest the polls,” said Sudheeran after a meeting of the party’s election committee which sat for the first time to prepare the list of candidates. 
The Congress party normally contests 17 seats out of the 20 seats in the state. 
“We will be meeting again on Tuesday and yesterday’s (Sunday) meeting did not discuss any names. We have asked our district committee’ to come out with their opinion on candidates,” said Sudheeran. 
He also said they will soon have their first round of talks with the Revolutionary Socialist Party, which has left the Left Democratic Front on Saturday after being denied the Kollam Lok Sabha seat.
“There are not going to be any preconditions for the talks,” said Sudheeran.  He also made it clear that at no cost would the party tolerate any sort of indiscipline by its party workers and leaders.