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KL This Week: LDF Candidates Begin Poll Campaign; Congress Yet to Declare Candidates

SKM organisations held tractor rallies and marched to Central government offices on February 26 as part of the national call to observe ‘Quit WTO Day’.

Image Credit: R Prakash 


Newsclick brings important developments from Kerala during the week, including the state switching to election mode with the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) of the United Democratic Front (UDF) announcing its candidates, the Samyukta Kisan Sabha (SKM) observing ‘Quit WTO Day’, increase in night temperature across 12 districts and the historic decision to implement reservation in institutions controlled by the Devaswom Board


Various farmers organisations, under the banner of SKM observed February 26 as ‘Quit WTO Day’ as part of the national-level agitation. The farmers organisations, including the Kerala Karshaka Sangham (state unit of the All India Kisan Sabha) held marches across the state to Central government offices demanding the union government to withdraw from the agreements signed under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) leading to sufferings of the farmers. 

The organisations continued their demands on keeping agriculture out of the ambit of the WTO, to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) for produce. The SKM has claimed that the policies of the WTO are adversely affecting farmers, public procurement and distribution of foodgrains. 

The farmers' organisations have been urging the Union government to ensure MSP and continue procurement of foodgrains to ensure food security for the poor and needy. Farmers across the state took out tractor rallies and marched to central government offices, on demands including the withdrawal of attacks on protesting farmers in Shambhu border and providing financial aid to farmers who lost their lives in historic farmers' struggle. 


The LDF has announced all its 20 candidates for the constituencies, much ahead of the announcement of polls, with the IUML (Indian Union Muslim League), a part of the UDF (United Democratic Front) announcing two candidates. The Congress party, which is contesting in 18 constituencies, is yet to conclude the candidate selection. 

LDF candidates launched their election campaign as soon as their candidatures were announced by Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] state secretary M V Govindan on February 27. They are holding roadshows, meeting the public in person and visiting leaders of various communities. 

The LDF has fielded senior, heavyweight candidates, including the former finance minister T M Thomas Isaac from Pathanamthitta, former health minister and MLA K K Shailaja from Vadakara, polit bureau member A Vijayaraghavan from Palakkad, minister for Devaswom and SC, ST Welfare K Radhakrishnan from Alathur, Elamaram Kareem, member of Rajya Sabha and leader of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions from Kozhikode. 

The sitting MP from Alappuzha, A M Arif, will seek re-election, while the other senior leaders M V Jayarajan (Kannur) and M V Balakrishnan (Kasaragod) while C Raveendranath, former higher education minister, will contest from Chalakudy. 

The state president of Democratic Youth Federation of India, V Vaseef, will contest from Malappuram. The CPI(M) has fielded V Joy (Attingal), M Mukesh (Kollam), Joice George (Idukki), K V Shine (Ernakulam) and K S Hamsa (Ponnani). 

The Communist Party of India (CPI) has announced Annie Raja from Wayanad, the constituency at present represented by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders Panniyan Raveendran from Thiruvananthapuram and former minister V S Sunil Kumar from Thrissur. The party has selected C A Arun Kumar, a young youth front leader to contest from Mavelikkara. Another LDF constituent, the Kerala Congress (Mani) has fielded sitting MP Thomas Chazhikadan from Kottayam.

The IUML has fielded its two sitting MPs, but has swapped the constituencies. E T Mohammed Basheer will contest from Ponnani and Abdusamad Samadani will seek mandate from Malappuram. The IUML pressed for a third seat from the Congress, but the party was denied the additional seat. The Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) will contest from Kollam constituency, while Kerala Congress (Jacob) will contest from Kottayam. 


The Water Break in schools, aimed at facilitating the students to drink water at frequent breaks, is back, as the temperatures continue to increase across Kerala. With exams beginning from March 1, the school education department has sounded an alert to school managements to ensure the facility for students. 

The night temperature in several districts is similar to day temperatures, signalling a hot summer ahead. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a yellow alert to 12 districts, except Idukki and Wayanad, as the mercury continues to rise much earlier than usual. 

The temperature is expected to increase to 36 and 37 degrees Celsius, which is 3-4 degree Celsius higher than normal. The warm climate is expected to continue till the second week of March, after which thunderstorms are predicted.


The government of Kerala has mandated the Devaswom Board to follow the reservation policy in the appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff in schools and colleges aided by the board. The five Devaswom boards have agreed to implement the reservation policies in appointments made through the Public Service Commission (PSC) in the educational institutions. At present, reservation is followed in temples and offices controlled by the board. 

The minister for Dewaswom, K Radhakrishnan, informed the Assembly during the budget session that the government was contemplating implementation of reservation in the institutions run by the board. He went on to add that the private managements were  practicing untouchability practices in appointing staff in the institutions. 

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