Even after both LDF and UDF declared their final candidates’ list days back, BJP is still stuck over its Pathanamthitta candidate. Party’s state unit has no clarity regarding the issue. State leaders, along with party members, are upset over the delay. BJP think it is one of the seats where BJP can score, taking mileage from the Sabarimala issue.
Parliamentary board secretary J.P. Nadda had declared their first list of 184 candidates, including 13 from Kerala on Thursday, leaving Pathanamthitta reserved.
As an uncertainty spread over the Pathanamthitta candidature, BJP state secretary K. Surendran had offered prayers at the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple on Thursday, which was the last day of the monthly pooja.
While reports say there is an internal dispute in the party over the candidates for the district, BJP state president P.S. Sreedharan Pillai has denied this. “There is no dispute over the candidate for Pathanamthitta seat. The deliberations on the matter are over. It is unlikely that any last-minute changes would be made,” Pillai said while responding to Malayala Manorama.
Being the centre of Sabarimala agitation, BJP can at least display a good competition at Pathanamthitta seat. P.S. Sreedharan Pillai and General Secretary K. Surendran are lobbying for the seat as the latter has the RSS backing. K. Surendran was at the forefront of the Sabarimala agitation and was in jail for three weeks. Most of the party workers and RSS leaders are arguing in his favour.
Meanwhile, it’s also reported that senior Congress leader P.J. Kurien’s name is under consideration of the BJP central committee. But however, Kurien denied all the reports as baseless and fabricated.
BJP candidates on the rest of the seats have already started campaigning. Former Mizoram Governer and party’s former state president Kummanam Rajashekharan is fielded at Trivandrum. While Union minister Alphonse Kannanthanam will contest in Ernakulam, party’s new entrant from Congress Tom Vadakkan didn’t find a place in the candidate list.