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LS poll campaign yet to start in Kerala

Source: PTI
March 15, 2009 17:37 IST
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With barely a month left for Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, both the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist-led Left Democratic Front and Congress-spearheaded United Democratic Front opposition, are yet to start their election campaigns in the state following issues related to seat-sharing and selection of candidates.

The stand-off between the CPI-M and the CPI over the Ponnani Lok Sabha seat has forced the Left front to postpone election conventions in all the 20 constituencies, scheduled to start last week. According to the Left front sources, the Central leadership of both the CPI-M and the CPI have been apprised of the matter and a solution is expected by Monday.

The CPI has been insisting on the Ponnai seat but the CPI-M argued that it was agreed at the LDF seat sharing meeting that a 'common independent' candidate would be put up this time from the constituency, a CPI seat, to defeat the Indian Union Muslim League which had been winning it over the years. The CPI move to field film director Kamal, as an alternative candidate to both CPI-M supported Profesoor Hussian Randhathani and CPI identified candidate A P Kunhamu, has also failed. Kamal has refused to enter the fray unless, Randhathani, who had started campaigning in Ponnai as an independent candidate, with tacit support of the CPI-M withdrew from the polls.

CPI-M also had problems with the Janata Dal-Secular over the Kozhikode seat as the senior partner wanted to field its candidate overruling the latter's claim since it won the seat last time. JD-S sources said the issue on the seat would be resolved on Monday after a meeting of CPI-M state secretariat.

The issue of selection of candidates and campaigning have also been delayed by the Congress-led UDF. Congress leaders including Kerala pradesh Congress committee president Ramesh Chennithala, opposition leader Oommen Chandy and senior leader K Karunakaran, were in Delhi to finalise the candidates list after discussion with the party high command.

The party leadership has to choose 17 candidates from 69 persons from the list of probables prepared by the KPCC election panel. As per the schedule, Kerala goes to the polls on April 16. However, the CPI and the Bharatiya Janata Party in the state had asked the Chief Election Commission to postpone the poll date due to the festivals - Vishu and Easter in the preceding week and the decision in this regard was also expected on Monday.

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