UDF still to name candidates for Kasargod
While the LDF is expected to field two time CPM MP P Karunakaran, BJP has named party state general secretary K Surendran as the candidate. The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is yet to finalise its candidate.
According to sources, the UDF will field a Congress candidate this time also and names of KPCC general secretary T Sidique, Kerala Tulu academy chairman and an advocate of Mangalore bar Subbaya Rai and another KPCC general secretary from Kasargod K P Kunhikannan are doing rounds. The UDF is contemplating on a Muslim candidate as there is a sizeable minority votes in the constituency.
Kasargod has been a LDF bastion as the front has been winning the seat from 1989. M Ramanna Rai was the MP for two terms and later T Govindan won three consecutive elections.
Karunakaran, a central committee member, won by a comfortable margin of 1,08,256 votes in 2004 and 64,427 votes in 2009. According to CPM sources, party’s decision to field Karunakaran again, only one of the four sitting MPs being renominated, is an adequate testimony for his parliamentary performance.
The BJP has always hoped that Kasargod will be the gateway for Kerala as it has been banking on the votes of sizeable Tulu-speaking people in the constituency.
But the district BJP has not acceded to the demand that a candidate with “Karnataka link” should be fielded. The clamour for the Karnataka link' is because the party in Kasargod is controlled from Mangalore.
During 2009 elections, fielding of Surendran led to resentment as workers considered him an outsider as he is from Kozhikode. As he is now in Kasargod, Surendran's supporters claim that there was no outsider image.
In 2009, Surendran had secured 14.81 per cent of the total votes polled. In 2011 Assembly elections, he finished third from the Manjeshwar Assembly constituency. In the elections, relief and rehabilitation of endosulfan victims and problems of arecanut farmers would be major issues.
The Kasargod parliamentary constituency comprises seven Assembly constituencies and has 12,21,294 voters.