LDF’s Ernakulam candidate Shaji George, who owns the publishing house Pranatha, has declared assets worth Rs 3 crore.
LDF’s PTA Rahim, who is contesting as an independent from Kunnamangalam in Kozhikode district, has declared assets worth Rs 2 crore. A member of the Indian National League, he war earlier with the IUML.
Rahim was allegedly named in the Karipur gold smuggling case of 2018.
KT Jaleel, the current higher education minister, who is contesting from Malappuram district’s Thavanur, has declared assets worth Rs 1.2 crore. He is a professor of history at PSMO College in Tirurangadi.
Criticising the LDF’s move, activist and left ideologue KM Shahjahan said this is a part of the decay facing the Left of late. “In Malappuram district, LDF hardly has any influence, but the party used to field hardworking party candidates. But, as a part of the decay ravaging through CPI(M), the party now fields businessmen from such seats. The candidates will pay money for these seats and spend their money to contest from these seats. These candidates will contribute to the party too,” elaborated Shajahan.
The remaining candidates are lakhpatis. LDF’s Koduvally candidate Karat Razak is a businessman who has declared Rs 74 lakh as assets. His name had cropped up in the recent gold smuggling scandal.
UDF’s Dinesh Perumanna, an independent candidate from Kunnamangalam, has declared assets worth Rs 43 lakh. Kovoor Kunjumon, LDF’s Kunnathur candidate, has declared assets worth Rs 11 lakh while UDF’s Elathur candidate Sulphikar Mayoori has assets worth Rs 5 lakh.
LDF has fielded an independent candidate, Niyas Pulikkalakath, from Tirurangadi. His affidavit was not clear on the Election Commission website. He, however, is one of the chairpersons of Kerala SIDCO, which provides marketing support to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises in the state.
Political pundits reiterate that this would lead to issues within the party. “When an election is conducted, the party rank and file will be disgruntled and vote against CPI(M). The independent candidates who have been fielded have no connection with the common people and are from the business class. When the business class contests elections, their ideology will clash with that of the rank and file. Businessmen will not take a position which goes against them,” explained Shajahan.
This will backfire, Shajahan reiterated, and added that such moves would not succeed. “In a proletarian party like CPI(M), when they field business class citizens who have no connection with the party, it goes against the ideals of the party. It will be reflected in elections,” added Shajahan. Being a cadre party, issues such as these are not discussed on public platforms.
“Once you check the election affidavits of the LDF’s independent candidates, you will see that they have been fielded in Congress and IUML strongholds. They are billionaires and that seems to be their criteria,” said Rahul Mamkoottathil, Congress ideologue and former NSUI leader.
Dinesh Perumanna was a zila parishad member and he is contesting from Kunnamangalam. He is actually a Congress worker, but as the seat was allotted to IUML, he is contesting as an independent candidate. Mamkoottathil added that several of these candidates were either Congress or IUML rebels. “They are candidates who did not show much promise with these parties, so they broke away.”
Incidentally, the two candidates with the highest declared assets in this year’s polls in the state are MV Shreyams Kumar (Rs 88 crore) belonging to Loktantrik Janata Dal, which is a part of LDF and CS Rajasekharan Nair (Rs 64.3 core) of the BJP.