The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday evening finally announced their candidates from Kerala for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The party has announced candidates for 13 out of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala. The candidate for Pathanamthitta, a seat that almost three leaders are vying for, has been left unannounced.
Contesting from the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency is Alphonse Kannanthanam, who is currently serving as the Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism. He was also an Indian civil servant and an advocate. He is also the second BJP Central Minister in Kerala after O Rajagopal.
Alphons joined the Modi government in March 2017. His induction come as a surprise even for some BJP leaders in Kerala, as he has not been among the most visible figures in the party.
The bureaucrat-turned-politician shifted his loyalties to the BJP in 2011, after first entering the Kerala Assembly with the support of the LDF in 2006.
Kummanam Rajashekaran, senior BJP leader and former governor of Mizoram, as expected has bagged a ticket to contest from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.
The other candidates who will be contesting in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections which will be held in April are: Raveesh Thantri Kuntar from Kasaragod, CK Padmanabhan from Kannur, VK Sajeevan from Vadakara, Advocate KP Prakash Babu from Kozhikode, Unnikrishnan Master from Malappuram, VT Rema from Ponnani, C Krishnakumar from Palakkad, AN Radhakrishnan from Chalakudy, KV Sabu from Kollam and Sobha Surendran from Attingal.
This is the most crucial election for the BJP since it has pinned high hopes based on the controversy surrounding the entry of young women into Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta. Hence, several leaders of the party like Alphonse Kannanthanam, BJP state General Secretary K Surendran, state president PS Sreedharan Pillai had been in the fray to contest from the seat. When the Sabarimala protest was at its peak, Sreedharan Pillai had even said that it was a golden opportunity for the BJP.
When the Supreme Court of India allowed the entry of women of all ages into the Sabarimala temple, various right wing organisations led by the BJP had led several protests against the verdict across the state, especially in Pathanamthitta district where the Sabarimala temple is located.
So far the BJP has drawn a blank as far as the Lok Sabha elections are concerned. The party's central leadership is thus particularly focusing on the state.