Politics
The LDF is planning its campaign around the 61 local divisions in the Malappuram constituency, with an MLA spearheading efforts in each division.

The Left Democratic Front is mounting a strong campaign for the bye-poll in the Malappuram Lok Sabha seat. The coalition is set to designate no less than 61 of its legislators to campaign for its candidate, DYFI state president MB Faisal.

In a meeting of the ruling front held on Monday morning, it has been decided that MLAs and other leaders should spearhead the campaign in the seven Assembly constituencies that make up the Malappuram Lok Sabha constituency. The LDF campaign is being planned around the 61 local divisions in the constituency, with one MLA to be designated to each local division.

The choice of the political newbie Faisal, instead of a political veteran like TK Hamsa, as the LDF candidate had come as a bit of a surprise. However, the LDF is keen to declare that such a choice does not mean that the coalition parties are not taking the bye-election seriously enough.  

“The decision to do a rigorous campaign was unanimous in the meeting. Left MLAs, MPs and other leaders will spearhead it. The main enemy of the BJP government at the Centre is the Left government in Kerala. Since the Congress at the national level has failed to oppose the communal forces, we have to strengthen our fight,” CPI senior leader, Pannian Raveendran, told TNM.

Since the LDF, the United Democratic Front and the BJP have fielded candidates for the election to be held on April 12, a war of words has begun on all sides. Senior Congress leader and former minister Aryadan Muhammed, for instance, has claimed that the CPI, an ally of CPI (M), will not support the LDF candidate and will vote for the UDF. Pannian, however, rejected this statement, saying that it was born out of Muhammed’s lack of knowledge of the political scenario and the history of CPI.

BJP leader M T Ramesh has alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and IUML candidate PK Kunhalikutty conspired before fielding an LDF candidate who will make Kunhalikutty's victory easier.  He claimed that both leaders had secretly met at a friend’s home on March 18 for this.

Meanwhile Sree Narayana Dharmaparipalana Yogam General Secretary Vellappally Natesan said that the SNDP’s political outfit, Bharath Dharm Jena Sena, will not support the BJP candidate in the election. The BDJS had joined hands with the BJP-led NDA in the 2016 Assembly elections in the state.

Vellappally began to show discontent, recently, “over BJP ‘s treatment of his party”. He said on Monday that the BDJS is not committed to support the BJP candidate, district Vice President of the party N Sreeprakash, as the BJP picked its candidate without consulting the party’s allies in the NDA.