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Kerala - Alappuzha Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Dissent in fronts as pre-poll preparations reach final stage

Staff Reporter

Reports on selection of candidates trigger protests


Achuthanandan's supporters express resentment

K.C. Joseph firm on contesting from Kuttanad


ALAPPUZHA: The political temperature began soaring in Alappuzha on Wednesday as pre-poll preparations in both the Left and United Democratic Fronts moved into the final stages.

While on the one hand, the LDF found dissenting voices taking out protest marches and pasting posters against the reported exclusion of Chief Minister and son of the soil V.S. Achuthanandan, the UDF saw mutiny as supporters of the Kerala Congress's P.J. Joseph faction raised their voice against veteran K.C. Joseph being denied the Kuttanad seat.

At the same time, candidate selection in the K.R. Gouri-led Janadhipathya Samrakshana Samithi, another UDF constituent, turned out to be a tough job for the 91-year-old, who has now postponed the final decisions to Thursday.

With news trickling out that the CPI(M)'s State Secretariat might hand over the mantle of the LDF's poll campaign to Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, staunch supporters of Mr. Achuthanandan made their dissent public, bringing back memories of similar pre-poll uproars in 2006.

A protest march was taken out at Thottappally while posters demanding that Mr. Achuthanandan be given an Assembly seat came up near his residence in Punnapra near Ambalapuzha.

The posters also contained statements against CPI(M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

For the UDF, it was Dr. Joseph's exclusion from the candidate list that created headaches. Dr. Joseph, who has represented Kuttanad for 24 years in his 26-year-old career as a legislator, was nearly a foregone conclusion as the UDF candidate in Kuttanad. But news that the seat would go to the Congress took even Dr. Joseph by surprise, leading to an urgent meeting of the Kerala Congress Kuttanad unit.

The meeting passed a unanimous resolution stating that the move was “painful” and “condemnable”.

Dr. Joseph, however, showed restraint and said that the party decision was to demand the Kuttanad seat, but whether the party chairman K.M. Mani had conveyed the same decision to the Congress leadership was not known.

Dr. Joseph also said that he had made it clear to the party that he would not be interested in contesting from anywhere else.

“I believe the decision will be reviewed,” he told reporters at his Ramankary residence.

In the JSS camp, meanwhile, discussions to finalise candidates for the four Assembly seats allotted to the party by the UDF leadership did not reach a conclusion on Wednesday with talks over the Cherthala and Karunagapally seats ending in chaos.

A majority of the members of the JSS Party Centre that met at Ms. Gouri's residence wanted Ms. Gouri to contest from the Cherthala seat, but a final decision would be announced only on Thursday, she said.

As for the Karunagapally seat, where party president A.Rajan Babu was expected to contest from, there were more than three contenders and a decision would be taken only on Thursday.

The centre decided that Umesh Challiyil would contest from Kaipamangalam while the lone legislator of the JSS, K.K. Shaju would contest from Mavelikara.

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