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Namesakes may spoil show

Political parties in Kerala are using an ingenious way to win votes. They are fielding one or more candidates with the same name as the rival candidate so that voters get confused.
PTI | By Ramesh Babu, T?puram
UPDATED ON APR 26, 2004 07:29 PM IST

Political parties in Kerala are using an ingenious way to fox voters in order to cut into votes of rival candidates.

The method is simple. They just field one or more candidates with the same name as the rival candidate so that voters get confused and vote for the wrong person. This is why when Union minister of state for law PC Thomas (NDA) came to file his papers in Muvatupuzha, he was shocked to find three 'Thomases' arrayed against him.

And the story did not end there. As the nomination closed on Friday, there were three 'Joses' against UDF official candidate Jose K. Mani and two Ismails against LDF candidate P.M. Ismail.

In Muvatupuzha LS seat alone, there are eleven dummy candidates who share names with candidates of popular political parties.

This isn't all. There are three 'nakli' Muralidharans against 'asli' K. Muralidharan (power minister) in the Vadakancherry Assembly byelection and there is a V.S. Sudheeran against Congress's V.M. Sudheeran in Alapuzha.

While K. Balaram is contesting against the Congress' V. Balaram, two Krishna Das' are pitted against the CPM's N.N. Krishnadas in Palakkad. A record 40-odd duplicates (235 candidates for 20 seats) are there in the fray from the state.

These candidates are not fielded just for laughs and can cause serious damage. During the last LS elections in Kannur, the Congress candidate Mullapally Ramchandran lost by 10,000 votes while two of his namesakes netted around 12,000 votes between them. There were many such bitter stories. But this time the problem has got worse.

While almost all parties outwardly condemn this Kerala-style subversion of democracy, they secretly encourage their workers to resort to these tricks.

"All parties should evolve a consensus against this menace. Otherwise we cannot do anything," a senior electoral officer in Kerala said.

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