After hectic parleys and many rounds of negotiations, the NDA has finally reached a consensus on seat sharing for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala. The BJP will contest in 14 seats, its major constituent Bharat Dharma Jena Sena (BDJS) in five and Kerala Congress (PC Thomas) in one.
BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao announced the seat sharing of the coalition at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday. The candidates’ list is likely to be announced on Thursday.
The BJP will contest from Kasargode, Kannur, Vadakara, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Ponnani, Palakkad, Chalakudy, Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Attingal and Thiruvananthapuram.
Wayanad, Alathur, Idukki, Thrissur and Mavelikkara are the seats in which BDJS will field candidates.
Kottayam is the lone seat for Kerala Congress (PC Thomas).
Former state president of the BJP, PK Krishnadas, who was also present at the press meet, reportedly said that the political atmosphere in Kerala is favourable for the NDA.
"Wonders will happen in the Lok Sabha elections. Nine sitting MLAs are contesting from the LDF and the UDF in the election. The BJP has asked the MLAs to quit the post to contest in the elections. The BJP and the BDJS are like Rama and Lakshmana," he said.
BDJS President and convener of the NDA, Thushar Vellappally said that he hasn’t yet taken a decision on whether to contest in the polls and that he may quit the post in SNDP Yogam if needed.
The LDF had announced their candidates on March 9 while the UDF candidate selection concluded on Tuesday, with the Congress picking up sitting MLA K Muraleedharan for Vadakara.
The CPI (M)-led LDF and the Congress-led UDF are the major political fronts in the state. The NDA didn’t win a single seat in 2014. The BJP opened its account in the state in 2016 Assembly polls.
Senior leader O Rajagopal is the party’s lone MLA.
With the BDJS having been formed only in 2015, it was not a part of the BJP alliance in the 2014 polls.
SNDP Yogam General Secretary, Vellappally Natesan floated Bharath Dharma Jana Sena in December 2015. His son Thushar is the Assistant Secretary of the influential SNDP Yogam.
There was a recent split in the BDJS after a group of workers under former Thiruvananthapuram district president, Chuzhal G Nirmalan left the party. The breakaway group formed a new party named BDJS (Democratic).