Parties to face heat of namesake menace

Parties to face heat of namesake menace

The namesake nemesis is back to haunt some of the prominent candidates ahead of the May 16 Assembly election in Kerala.

Even as discussions continue on the need to regulate candidature of politically unaffiliated independents with names similar to prominent candidates, Kerala is, again, witnessing a surge of namesake candidates.

In the 140 Assembly constituencies, the trend is visible in at least 50. Sources in the Election Commission said provision of candidates’ photographs on the EVMs had considerably lowered the menace but there are still possibilities of unfancied independents mustering votes, all thanks to their names.

All political parties are likely to face the namesake heat in constituencies which are set for close contests. In Tripunithura, the entry of an independent candidate, Swaraj, has even led to charges from the original – CPM’s M Swaraj — against his political rivals for attempts to eat into his votes. Swaraj is facing Excise Minister and sitting MLA of the Congress K Babu in what has emerged as a key contest.

“We can line up at least 10,000 candidates named Babu but we don’t want to win this on tricks,” Swaraj said. The CPM itself is facing similar charges in Vadakara where K K Rema, wife of slain rebel Communist leader T P Chandrasekharan and Revolutionary Marxist Party candidate, has two namesakes to deal with.

In Azhikode in Kannur, MLA and Indian Union Muslim League candidate K M Shaji has two other Shajis to fight. In Koothuparamba in Kannur, both the UDF and LDF candidates — Minister K P Mohanan and K K Shailaja respectively — have two namesakes each. In Palakkad district, Pattambi, Thrithala and Nenmara are constituencies where namesakes have filed nominations. The final list of candidates is pending scrutiny but political analysts feel that irrespective of the number of namesakes who make it to the list, the trend will continue.

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