Sons, sons-in-law, relatives of politicians throw their hat in poll ring in Kerala

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 26 (PTI) A plethora of politicians' relatives--including sons, daughters and sons-in- law, are in fray for the April 6 Assembly polls in Kerala, hoping to cash in on their legacy to woo voters.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's son-in-law P A Mohammed Riyas, the national president of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), is making his debut in the Assembly polls from Beypore, while Congress leader K Muraleedharan, MP and Padmaja Venugopal, children of former Chief Minister late K Karunakaran have been fielded from Nemom and Thrissur respectively.

Vijayan is seeking re-election from Dharmadam in Kannur.

In over 20 of the 140 seats, children of former ministers and MLAs from the ruling CPI(M)-led LDF and Opposition Congress-led UDF are testing the electoral waters this time even as several aspirants were allegedly cold shouldered.

According to J Prabhash, political analyst, when there is no politics in politics, kith and kin, businessmen and independents matter.

Political parties claim public acceptability of these candidates when they field such candidates. This means their partymen are not acceptable.

'Look at the contradiction. They say that they want a publicly accepted person and reversely accept that their party workers are not publicly accepted. What kind of argument are they putting forward,' he asked.

'This means their politics is at a discount. When politics comes at a discount, the publicly acceptable people become candidates, the kith and kins and businessmen become candidates....it's the policies which clothe a political party. When the ideology and policies are removed, politics become naked,' he said.

It's a reflection of this kind of politics that is found in political parties irrespective of ideology going after relatives, Prabhash, former political science professor with the University of Kerala, told P T I.

Lathika Subhash, Congress' ex-Mahila Morcha president, had quit the party after a 'mundan protest' on being denied a ticket by the UDF and is contesting as an independent from Ettumanoor.

Veteran Congress leader, K C Rosakutty too quit the party and warmed up to the rival front, miffed at being overlooked for the Kalpetta seat, while the Left Front also had its share of disgruntled candidates.

Three sons making their electoral debut are P E Abdul Gafoor (Kalamassery), the son of former minister Ibrahim Kunju, who was denied a seat by the IUML, an ally of the Congress-led UDF,Sumesh K Achuthan, son of former Congress MLA, K Achuthan (UDF), and LDF-Independent candidate Dr V Sujith (Chavara), son of former MLA late N Vijayan Pillai.

NCP's Thomas K Thomas (Kuttanad), brother of former minister Thomas Chandy, and R Bindu (Irinjalakuda), a college professor, wife of CPI(M) secretary in charge, A Vijayaraghavan and P V Sreenijin (Kunnathunad), son-in-law of former Supreme Court Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan have been fielded by the LDF.

While Jose K Mani, who joined the Left Front recently and is contesting from Pala, the pocket borough of his late father K M Mani, founder-leader of Kerala Congress (M), his brother-in-law M P Joseph, former IAS officer, is trying his luck from Trikaripur as UDF candidate.

He has been fielded by Kerala Congress leader, P J Joseph, whose son-in-law Dr Jose Joseph, is contesting from Kothamangalam on the ticket of Twenty-20 Kizhakkambalam, corporate social responsibility arm of of Kitex, which has fielded some candidates in this election.

From the UDF camp, ex-ministers--M K Muneer (Koduvally), Shibu Baby John (Chavara) and Anoop Jacob (Piravom), whose fathers were also ministers, and K S Sabarinathan (Aruvikkara), son of late Speaker G Karthikeyan, are among the 'star kids' in the fray.

Advocate and political critic A Jayashankar said the trend of fielding kith and kin seems to be on the rise in Kerala also. It was more prevalent in UDF. In the previous UDF ministry, six ministers were sons of prominentyesteryear politicians.

'We have all seen how the Congress party desperately wanted either G Karthikeyan's wife or son to contest when a by-election was necessitated due to his sudden demise. His son and present MLA, K S Sabarinathan was not keen to enter politics then, but the party forced him to enter the poll fray.

'Now, the Marxist party is also no exception. PinarayI Vijayan's son in law was given Beypore, one of the most sure seats of the CPI(M) in Kozhikode and V K C Mammed Koya, the incumbent MLA, was ignored, he said.

Riyas had unsuccessfully contested in the 2009 general election from Kozhikode.

Among others, theLDF has fielded former minister K B Ganesh Kumar (Pathanapuram), who followed his father Kerala Congress (B) founder leader R Balakrishna Pillai into politics and K V Mohanan (Kuthuparamba) of LJD. He is the son of late socialist leader P R Kurup.

The Left Front's Shelna Nishad, who has been fielded from Aluva, is the daughter of former Congress MLA K Mohamad kutty.PTI UD SA SS PTI PTI