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Late entrants may change political equations in Kerala

April 10, 2009 21:55 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party state president P K Krishnadas and Nationalist Congress Party state president and former Member of Parliament, K Muraleedhran, who are contesting from Thiruvananthapuram and Wynad respectively, may prove to be the proverbial dark horses in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

BJP state president Krishnadas is contesting in a multi-cornered fight, with the Congress fielding former United Nations under-secretary Shashi Tharoor, the Left Democratic Front fielding the Communist Party of India district secretary P Ramachandran Nair, Bahujan Samaj Party fielding former minister A Neelalohithadas Nadar and the NCP fielding M P Gangadharan.

The sudden entry of the heavyweight BSP and NCP candidates has made the outcome of the electoral battle unpredictable, with the influential Nadar community expected to favour Neelalohithadas Nadaar.

Neelan, as he is fondly known, had defeated M N Govindan Nair, considered the doyen of the Communist movement in Kerala, by a margin of over one lakh votes in 1980. He had served as a minister in the LDF government, but had to resign in 1996, following complaints of harassment by a woman IAS officer.

Neelan had contested the 2006 assembly polls as an independent candidate and received over 21,000 votes in his home turf of Kovalam.

The BSP leaders in the state believe that Neelalohitadas will win. But the BJP, whose candidate O Rajagopal had received 2.28 lakh votes in the last Lok Sabha polls, is putting all its might behind its candidate Krishnadas. The BJP's win might prove to be a severe blow for both the LDF and the United Democratic Front.

Even the BSP candidate might eat into the vote share of the LDF and the UDF .The NCP will also garner some votes as its candidate M P Gangadharan is a former minister with grass root contacts in the constituency.

Wynad, an UDF stronghold, is now witnessing a tough fight between its candidate and Congress leader M I Shanavas, CPI leader M A Rahmathulla and NCP's state
president and former MP K Muraleedharan.

Muraleedharan was a sitting MP from Kozhikode constituency and before the delimitation process, several areas of Wynad were part of Kozhikode.

However, a section of Congress workers might support Muraleedharan, who was one of the most popular presidents of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee before leaving the party.

Union Agriculture minister and NCP chief Sharad Pawar has already declared that if Muraleedharan, son of former chief minister K Karunakaran, wins from Wyanad, he will be given a ministerial berth in the Union cabinet.

Political observers believe that Pawar's statement might tilt the scales in favour of Muraleedharan.

Arun Lakshman in Thiruvnanthapuram