Kerala unit of BJP guarded as Vadakkan switches loyalties

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 14, 2019

Former Congress spokesperson quit party and joined BJP on Thursday

The Kerala BJP on Thursday responded cautiously to the induction of former spokesperson and all-India general secretary of the Congress, Tom Vadakkan, into the party.

Vadakkan, a close aide of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, quit Congress and joined the BJP on Thursday.

State unit president PS Sreedharan Pillai evaded a question on whether Vadakkan would be fielded from either the Thrissur, Chalakudy or Ernakulam Lok Sabha seat in the ensuing polls.

“We are a democratic party with a collective responsibility and all decisions are taken after due consultations within internal forums,” Pillai said.

The party has not yet finalised its candidate list with even Kummanam Rajasekharan, former president who quit recently as the Governor of Mizoram, saying his own candidature is yet to be declared.

Vadakkan had on more than one occasion made public his desire to contest as a Congress candidate from the Thrissur seat but faced stiff resistance from aspirants in the party’s local unit.

His name had made the rounds during the 2014 elections but failed to find mention this time around. This may have unsettled him, sources said.

A senior leader here said that blaming Pulwama and its aftermath for the decision to quit is all hogwash. “As a seasoned spin doctor, it is inexplicable that Vadakkan has failed to articulate his views convincingly.”

The induction should help the BJP’s cause to ‘enough good people’ to stand from all 20 constituencies in the State, he said, shrugging off barbs on how the Congress has turned inro a fertile poaching ground for its sworn rival.

Meanwhile, Kummanam Rajasekharan has soft-launched his poll campaign by meeting prominent personalities in Thiruvananthapuram, from where he is most likely to be fielded.

Hectic parleys are on among the Congress to douse the fire, after Jose K Mani, son of Mani and a Rajya Sabha MP, masterminded a coup to announce ‘unilaterally’ his own camp follower as a candidate.

List of candidates

The Congress’ plan to announce candidates by Friday, after consulting visiting party President Rahul Gandhi, may get further delayed.

In contrast, the ruling Left Democratic Front has launched itself on the campaign trail with all 20 candidates busy taking the initial rounds of their constituencies.

Published on March 14, 2019

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