Alphons, Vadakan likely to figure in Kerala BJP list

Kochi: Among those likely to figure in the list of candidates of the Kerala BJP, includes Union Tourism Minister K.J. Alphons and new entrant and former Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan, besides senior state leaders.

Kerala has 20 Lok Sabha seats and the BJP, which leads the NDA, contests in 14 seats, while five seats will be contested by its principal ally, the BDJS, and the former Union Minister of State P.C.Thomas-led Kerala Congress gets one seat.

Soon after returning here from Delhi, state BJP president P.S.Sreedharan Pillai said on Wednesday that the list would be released on Thursday, but kept silent when asked if he is going to be a candidate in the upcoming polls.

“The list of Kerala candidates would be released in Delhi tomorrow (Thursday) by the national executive,” Pillai said.

While the CPI-M led LDF alliance was the first to release its list, while the Congress led UDF is yet to announce the candidates for two more seats, which is expected in the coming days.

According to sources here, the BJP list has been caught in a bind after a few of its top state leaders continued to demand seats that they feel are more comfortable for them.

While Alphons has expressed his desire to contest the Pathanamthitta seat, the speculation here is that he is being considered for the Ernakulam seat and Vadakkan for either Chalakudy or Kollam.

The sources said the delay has occurred after the names of a few senior leaders went missing, including those of general secretaries K.Surendran, M.T.Ramesh and Sobha Surendran. The majority of the state unit of the party continues to be divided between Pillai and Rajya Sabha member V. Muraleedharan .

Following the intervention of the RSS, Surendran, who was demanding the Pathanamthitta seat, appears to have managed that, even as Ramesh, who finished with 1.38 lakh votes in 2014, continues to hope for another outing.

Sobha Surendran , who secured 1.36 lakh votes from Palakkad seat in 2014, is likely to be fielded this time from Attingal, the suburban constituency in the state capital district.

Among the other top state leaders who are likely to find a place in the list are A.N. Radhakrishnan, B. Gopalakrishnan, C.K. Padmanabhan.

Former state party chief P.K. Krishnadas, who leads the Pillai faction, is unlikely to figure in the list.

The Kerala unit of the BJP is yet to open its account in the Lok Sabha, while it has just one legislator in veteran former Union Minister O. Rajagopal, who in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls finished a close second to Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor , while all other BJP candidates finished a poor third.

Former Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan, who quit his post early this month, is the party’s choice to take on Congress Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor in the Thiruvananthapuram seat.