Thiruvananthapuram, March 10 (IANS) Releasing a list of 40 candidates, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the first off the block in Kerala to announce nominations for the April 13 assembly polls even as rivals were still holding seat sharing talks.
The first list was announced by state BJP president V. Muraleedharan in Delhi Thursday. It includes five women and 19 new faces, besides veterans like former BJP federal minister O. Rajagopal, former state president P.K. Krishna Das and youth leader K. Surendran.
The party is confident of opening an account in Kerala this time. The state will elect 140 legislators to the 13th state assembly.
The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) and its rival United Democratic Front (UDF) continue engage in hectic seat sharing talks.
The Congress-led UDF has held two rounds of talks with its allies. It is yet to finalise seats with allies like the Kerala Congress (Mani) and the K.R. Gowri-led JSS, while it has sealed the pact with the Indian Union Muslim League which will contest a maximum of 24 seats.
Discussions with smaller allies have also been successfully concluded.
“We will sort out issues with Gowri and with a few others also very soon,” state Congress chief Ramesh Chennithala told reporters here Thursday.
Chennithala also denied news reports that he was sure to contest the upcoming polls. “I am not one to be affected by election fever. My candidature has to be decided by my party and the high command,” he said.
Kerala Congress (Mani) wants to contest from 22 seats while the Congress is willing to give 13.
Likewise, former Communist Gowri, 91, is adamant that her party wants five seats, while the Congress is prepared to give only three.
Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan is being kept guessing as to whether he will contest, but Thursday he inaugurated the website of the LDF ahead of the front’s liaison committee meeting.
“Once the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) finalises the number of seats to be given to the Communist Party of India (CPI), then a more clear picture would emerge. We are expecting that by March 14, the seat sharing formula in the LDF would be ready and latest by March 16 all our candidates would be ready,” a top LDF leader told IANS.
CPI-M is determined to contest close to 100 seats, while the CPI has demanded 30 seats and is likely to settle for around 22. Once this is done, the deal with smaller allies will be struck.