Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whats in a name? - a lot atleast during election time in Kerala.

Confronted with a problem, you can trust keralite instinct to comeup with most ingenious(some say devious) solution for it.

Former UN undersecretary general and Congress Party candidate Shashi Tharoor is learning this the hardway. He is facing most serious threat from the most unexpected quarter in next month’s election. This threat comes from his two namesakes, Shashi Tharoor from Tharoor village in Palakkad, and Shashi Aroor who are contesting as independents against him.

Political parties in Kerala are known to put up independent candidates with names similar to opposition candidate to confuse the voters. This can make or break a candidates chances as the victory margins are razor thin.

The seriousness of the issue can be gauged from the fact that in the 2004 elections, Congress Party candidate V M Sudheeran lost by a slender margin of 1,009 votes from Alappuzha while his namesake V S Sudheeran cornered 8,352 votes which helped the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s K S Manoj to scrape through.

Last week, workers of the United Democratic Front (UDF) launched a manhunt for Jose K Mani, son of K M Mani, who filed his nomination against its official candidate Jose K Mani, who is also son of K M Mani. When they could not trace him, they put up Suresh Kurup besides four other names similar to the CPM’s sitting MP.

Namesakes are also posing serious threats to candidates like junior foreign minister E Ahmed (Muslim League) and his CPM rival T K Hamza in Malappuram and former minister Mullappally Ramachandran (Congress) and his CPM rival P Satheedevi in Vadakara.

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