Fight primarily between INDIA bloc partners in Kerala

On the other hand, the UDF which won 19 seats secured a vote share of 47.48 per cent and the Left Front which bagged just one seat got 36.29 per cent votes…reports Asian Lite News

With April 26, the date for voting in the Lok Sabha polls getting closer in Kerala, it is getting clearer by the day that the battle is primarily between key INDIA bloc partners the Congress-led UDF and the ruling CPI(M)-led Left, with the BJP-led NDA in for a triangular fight in two constituencies.

In the 2019 General Elections, barring the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat, the NDA candidates finished a distant third and managed a 15.64 per cent vote share.

On the other hand, the UDF which won 19 seats secured a vote share of 47.48 per cent and the Left Front which bagged just one seat got 36.29 per cent votes.

An analysis of the 20 Lok Sabha constituencies reveals that, while the BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others claims that this time big surprises are in store, figures tell a different story.

Things may not be as easy as the BJP leadership thinks. In the 2019 polls, only in the Thiruvananthapuram constituency did the BJP candidate get above three lakh votes and finish in second place.

The BJP candidates could manage above two lakh votes in just four constituencies, namely Pathanamthitta, Thrissur, Palakkad and Attingal. In nine constituencies the NDA candidates mustered above one lakh votes and in six constituencies their candidates could not even manage one lakh votes.

Out of the 20 constituencies, NDA candidates got the least votes in Kannur (68,509) and the highest votes in Thiruvananthapuram (3,16,142). As things stand now, a very clear triangular fight has emerged in Thiruvananthapuram where the BJP candidate, Union Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar is facing off against the sitting Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor and the CPI candidate Panniyan Ravindran.

At Thrissur actor-turned-politician Suresh Gopi is fighting the INDIA bloc partners. The other constituencies where the BJP appears to be putting all its energy into is at Attingal, where Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan is facing off against sitting Congress MP Adoor Prakash and CPI(M) candidate V Joy and at Palakkad where their candidate is local BJP veteran Krishnakumar who is facing off against the CPI(M)’s A Vijayaraghavan and the Congress’ VK Sreekandan.

At Pathanamthitta also the BJP is expecting to put up a stiff triangular battle as it has managed to rope in Anil Antony, son of Congress veteran, AK Antony. However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and AK Antony have already said in public that the NDA will not even finish second in any of the constituencies and AK Antony went a step further to say that the best days of the BJP were in 2019 when the Sabarimala temple issue was at its peak and this time they will only create noise and settle for third place.

Chandrasekhar sends legal notice to Tharoor

BJP candidate for Thiruvananthapuram, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has slapped a legal notice to his Congress counterpart, Shashi Tharoor, for defamation.

In his notice, Rajeev Chandrasekhar accuses Tharoor of disseminating patently false information among the constituents of Thiruvananthapuram, purportedly spreading misleading information regarding bribing key voters and influential figures such as Parish priests, among others.

Chandrasekhar has expressed ‘shock’ at the allegations made by Shashi Tharoor in a TV interview by a Kerala-based news organization called ’24 News’.

The BJP leader has also demanded the retraction of what he deems as reckless statements made by Shashi Tharoor and further demanded that he issue a public apology, or else face legal ramifications for the same.

The notice read, “Immediately withdraw all the allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee against Our Client, i.e. Rajeev Chandrashekhar on the aforesaid news channel dated 06.04.2024; Tender an unconditional public apology to Our Client to his satisfaction through print and electronic media about the said baseless allegations and aspersions made by you the Noticee; and Immediately cease, refrain and desist from defaming, harassing, hampering the reputation of Our Client and spreading any uncalled for rumour and stop indulging in any such activities in the future.”

The legal notice also states that Tharoor has made these statements “with an intent to harm” Rajeev Chandrasekhar. It emphasizes how such defamatory statements have harmed and disrespected the entire Christian community of Thiruvananthapuram and its leaders by accusing them of engaging in cash-for-votes activities, further highlighting the need for a public apology within 24 hours.

“Shocked and surprised to watch the news video dated 06.04.2024 on a Malayalam news channel named 24 News, wherein you, the Noticee (Shashi Tharoor), made defamatory statements alleging that Our Client (Rajeev Chandrasekhar) had indulged in illegal activities of offering money to voters and that Our Client is spreading lies in Christian communities. Not only are the said statements totally and completely false but it is clear that the same was made with the clear mala fide intent to tarnish the reputation of Our Client to try and gain an unfair advantage in the upcoming elections,” the legal notice further said.

This legal notice comes shortly after Tharoor violated Rule I(2) of the Model Code of Conduct, which strictly states that political candidates must confine their criticisms to “their policies and programme, past record and work” and refrain from making criticisms of other parties or their workers based on “unverified allegations or distortion”.

In this case, Tharoor’s statements made to ’24 News’ on how Rajeev Chandrasekhar offered money to key voters in the constituency, including religious and community leaders such as parish priests, without disclosing their names publicly, have not been verified.

Tharoor was also accused of “violating sub-section 3 of section 123 of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, by appealing to the religious identity of the voters, and his actions constitute a corrupt practice under the RP Act as held by the decision of the 7-judge bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Abhiram Singh v. CD Commachen (Civil Appeal No.37/1992).”

The legal notice further stated, “It is apprehended that you (Shashi Tharoor) have concocted these allegations and circulated them to influence the voters in Thiruvananthapuram. It is feared that you have engaged in spreading such false news to subvert the process of free and fair elections.

It is feared that your statements are now being circulated by your agents, supporters, and party members through various platforms including social media and messaging apps to spread the false allegations against Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the notice added. (ANI)

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