Thiruvananthapuram: More sons of Kerala politicians are entering the political arena, with three new faces among the 14 such candidates contesting the forthcoming state assembly polls.
Nine of the 14 are sitting legislators while two have unsuccessfully contested assembly elections earlier.
Eight belong to the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF), five are from the Left Democratic Front (LDF) and one is being fielded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The list includes the sons of three former chief ministers, a former deputy chief minister, seven former ministers and three former legislators. Only six candidates have their fathers still alive.
Former chief minister K. Karunakaran was the first in Kerala to bring his son into the political field. He groomed the Middle East-returned K. Muraleedharan as a candidate for the Kozhikode Lok Sabha seat in the late 1980s.
Muraleedharan is testing his luck in the forthcoming polls from Koduvally constituency in Kozhikode. He lost the May 2004 assembly by-election at Wadakancherry and had to resign as state electricity minister.
Asked whether being tagged as the scion of Karunakaran helped, Muraleedharan had in the past always given a stock reply that "the tag has always helped me in my initial years as a politician".
"But after that I have worked to what I am now," he had said.
Three-time legislator M.K. Muneer of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), who is state minister for public works and the son of late chief minister C.H. Mohammed Koya, is returning to his father’s constituency, Mankada, in Malapurram. He is pitted against sitting LDF legislator Mac Ali.
Mohan Sankar, son of late Congress chief minister R. Sankar, is being fielded by the BJP in Kodungallur, Thrissur district. In the 1996 polls, Sankar contested the Kottayam seat as a Congress candidate.
Two-time legislator Abdu Rabb of IUML, the son of late deputy chief minister K. Avukaderkutty Naha, is trying for a hat-trick of victories. He has been fielded this time for the Manjeri seat from Malappuram district.
M.V. Shreyas Kumar, son of Janata Dal-S legislator M.P. Veerendara Kumar from Kozhikode, is making his debut in the elections from Kalpetta constituency in Wayanad.
"The tag of being Veerendara Kumar’s son has given him the initial boost," said Shreyas Kumar’s wife.
"Moreover, he has been very active in the social front in Kalpetta, but that was never done with an eye on becoming a candidate. We have been given the feedback my husband would win despite it being his first electoral battle."
K. Ajith, another debutant and the son of late Communist Party of India (CPI) legislator M.K. Kesavan, is being fielded from the Vaikom constituency in Kottayam.
N. Jayaraj, another debutant, has replaced eight-time legislator and his father Narayana Kurup of the Kerala Congress (Mani) in Vazhoor, Kottayam district.
Film star-turned-legislator K.B. Ganesh Kumar, the son of veteran politician R. Balakrishna Pillai, is giving a second try in the Pathnapuram constituency of Kollam district.
Both father and son are contesting the polls as Kerala Congress-B candidates. Pillai is contesting from Kottarakara in the same district.
"For all those who think politically, my father’s tag helped me. But among the women voters it was the tag of an actor that has helped. This time I need no introduction because my voters can feel that I have done development works to the tune of Rs.780 million in my constituency," said Kumar.
Sitting legislator Shibhu Baby John is trying his luck for the second successive time from Chavara in Kollam that was represented for many terms by his father, veteran trade union leader Baby John who is now ailing.
Two-time legislator K.P. Rajendran, son of former minister K.P. Prabhakaran of the CPI, is trying to wrest the Kodungallur constituency from Umesh Challyil, the sitting legislator.
Saju Paul of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, the son of late Congress legislator P.I. Paulose, is aiming for a second straight win from the Perumbavoor constituency in Ernakulam district.
State Labour Minister Babu Divakaran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party-M, the son of late RSP chief T.K. Divakaran, is aiming for a fourth victory from Kollam.
Janata Dal-S legislator K.P. Mohanan, son of late minister P.R. Kurup, is hoping to retain his Peringalam seat from Kannur district, while state Forest Minister A. Sujanapal, son of late Congress legislator A. Balagopal, expects to retain his Kozhikode-1 seat.
"With politics becoming more of a business, it is certainly a boon for those children whose parents have created a niche for themselves in the political arena. Right from childhood they see their father excel as a politician and they feel that with their father’s past office, the initial boost is there," said Jacob Kurian, a voter