Ahead of the assembly elections in the state, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) cadres in the Muslim-majority constituency of Ponnani in Kerala’s Malappuram district have rejected the party candidate P Nandakumar and instead demanded that the party nominate TM Siddique as a candidate.
According to the reports, hundreds of CPI(M) workers and sympathisers took to the streets in protest against their own party for nominating P Nandakumar as the candidate in the upcoming assembly elections. A section within the party has now raised a revolt against Nandakumar’s candidature. They have now demanded that the party should nominate district committee member TM Siddique as the candidate instead.
It is pertinent to note that Muslims comprise more than two-thirds of the population in the constituency. Hindus are just over 30 per cent of the total population in the Ponnani constituency.
Reportedly, CPI(M) has finalised CITU all India secretary P Nanda Kumar as the party candidate from Ponnani, a seat currently represented by Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan. Sreeramakrishnan is not contesting elections, having completed two consecutive terms as a legislator, a rule introduced by CPI(M) in this election.
As TM Siddique, a prominent leader in the Muslim-majority constituency, did not figure in the probable candidates’ list, the local community was enraged and hit the streets on Monday. The protestors held banners that read, “party would correct the leaders, people would correct the party”.
Reacting to the protests, CPM district leadership distanced themselves from the protesters, saying they are not leaders or party members. However, EN Mohandas, CPM Malappuram district secretary, said that the party would study the reason for the protest and find out the details of the organisers of the protest.
Protestors slam district leadership, party sticks to its decision
Meanwhile, the protesters have slammed the CPM district leadership’s statement, saying, “The party wins the elections with the votes of the local people who may not be members or leaders of the party. So, the party’s statement that the protesters are not the party members makes no sense”.
Despite the protests, the CPI(M) has stuck to its decision to field Nandakumar from Ponnani. The CPI(M) leadership, taking a serious view of the protest in Ponnani, held several rounds of meetings on Tuesday and decided that they would neither succumb to the protests nor change their decision on the candidate.
Veteran CPI(M) leader and former MLA Paloli Mohammedkutty, Ponnani’s incumbent MLA and Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan and state committee member P Nandakumar attended the meetings held at constituency and panchayat levels. In the meeting, the party leadership said that no revolt by any group could do any major harm to the CPI(M)’s winning chances in Ponnani.
The single-phase election in Kerala will take place on 6th April 2021. The counting of votes will be held on 2nd May 2021.
In the 2016 Kerala Assembly Elections, the Left Democratic Front (LDF), a coalition of left-parties, had won 91 seats out of the 140 seats, while the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) had secured 47 seats. BJP had one election in one constituency.