The BJP is yet to announce a candidate for the Pathanamthitta constituency, thus giving rise to speculation that it may field a senior Congress leader who switches parties.

Senior Congress leader PJ Kurien denies reports of joining BJP in Kerala
news Lok Sabha 2019 Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 15:23

“I think you should first ask the media from where they got the news that I will be contesting from Pathanamthitta,” quips former Rajya Sabha chairman and senior Congress leader, PJ Kurien as he speaks to TNM on Saturday.

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday evening announced names of 13 candidates who will be contesting from Kerala in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, a lot of eyebrows were raised regarding the absence of a candidate in the Pathanamthitta constituency, which is the place where the BJP had led various protests against the entry of women into the Sabarimala temple.

Amidst rising speculation of Congress leaders joining the BJP, news reports started doing the rounds on Saturday that the BJP is eyeing a senior Congress leader as their candidate from Pathanamthitta. The reports claimed that the PJ Kurien is the leader whom the BJP is planning to field from Pathanamthitta.

Denying all such reports, Kurien said, “As far as I know, I’m not contesting from a BJP ticket. Find out who all are spreading this fake news and ask them from where they got such information.”

The reports about Kurien contesting from Pathanamthitta were also denied by the BJP state spokesperson, MS Kumar, who said that the party is not aware of any such information.

The Lok Sabha election in Kerala is crucial for all parties, and especially so for the BJP since it has pinned high hopes based on the controversy surrounding the entry of young women into the 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 Pathanamthitta 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 helmed several protests against the verdict across the state, especially in Pathanamthitta district where the temple is located.

So far, the BJP has drawn a blank as far as Lok Sabha elections are concerned. The party's central leadership is thus particularly focusing on the state.

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