Voices Thursday, June 05, 2014 - 05:30
Keerthi Prakasam| The News Minute| March 17, 2014| 12.25 pm IST The Left parties in Kerala are facing a peculiar problem. An uneasy feeling that the LDF front cannot garner votes with the old faces has forced the Left Democratic Front in Kerala to play the community card game. In an unprecedented move, the Left has given 5 seats to independent candidates and a total of almost 10 seats to candidates representing minority communities. The five independent candidates include four Christians and one Muslim candidate. Dr Sebastian Paul who had won from the Ernakulam seat in 2004 as an independent candidate with allegiance to the CPM says, “It is true that the Left has behaved unusually. There are many reasons for fielding candidates from particular communities. In every constituency, a different logic has been followed.” Many names that have emerged from the Left Democratic Front were formerly unheard of in Kerala politics. Out of this list, four are contesting from pretty sought after constituencies and have had no significant history with the Left. Christy Fernandez Christy Fernandez is the CPI(M)'s candidate from Ernakulam. This new name in Kerala politics was formerly an IAS officer in the Gujarat cadre and very recently served as the secretary of former President Prathibha Patil. Christy Fernandez's main competition will be from Food Minister K.V Thomas, the Congress's candidate from Ernakulam constituency. KV Thomas, who belongs to the Latin Catholic community, is the sitting MP from the constituency. The fact that the Catholic community plays a huge part in the election in this constituency is well known. And yes, Christy Fernandez hails from the same community. Bennet Abraham Bennet Abraham is the CPI's candidate from Thiruvananthapuram. Before the news of his candidature released, Dr.Bennet Abraham was an almost unknown in political circles and had worked with the Public Service Commission. With the Congress fielding Shashi Tharoor again, the Nair community’s votes may go the Tharoor way. The Left wanted to ensure that they get the significant Christian Nadar vote, and so Bennet Abraham was chosen. Philippose Thomas Philipose Thomas, an independent candidate backed by the Left is contesting and was a former Congress member himself, widely known to be the trusted confidante of the current Defence Minister AK Antony. Thomas will contest from the Pathanamthitta constituency. The CPM hopes that fielding a Christian candidate can get votes as Pattanamthitta too has a significant Christian population angry with the UDF. (Kasturirangan report) V. Abdurahman Abdurahman is the Left's candidate from the Muslim dominated area of Ponnani, in Malappuram. V. Abdurahman, was a Congress leader and former vice chairman of the Ponnani municipality. Ponnani is a stronghold of the Indian Union Muslim League, the main ally of the ruling United Democratic Front. Innocent Innocent is a well known Malayalam character artist, he is the independent candidate contesting from Chalakkudy with the Left's backing. Sources suggest that the party is looking to exploit in its favor not only the actor's popularity among the masses but also the Christian votes as he is a Catholic and someone who shares a good rapport with the church.

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