Oct 21 bypolls: Congress fails to zero in on candidates in Kerala

Oct 21 bypolls: Congress fails to zero in on candidates in Kerala
Congress leaders - Chandy, Sudheeran, Mullappally and Chennithala

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress in Kerala is struggling to finalise the list of candidates to contest in the four bypolls in the state. The bypolls would be held on October 21 and the counting would be held on October 24.

Though names of N Peethambara Kurup for Vattiyoorkavu, Robin Peter for Konni, S Rajendran for Aroor and T J Vinod for Ernakulam were picked earlier, the list was not finalised.

After a leadership meeting at 10am on Thursday, the list would be handed over to the All India Congress Committee

T J Vinod is more or less certain to contest in Ernakulam. However, former MP K V Thomas sought his name to be also considered, putting the senior leadership in a fix. The Congress 'I' group’s decision to field Vinod had found widespread consensus. But if K V Thomas is included in the list to be submitted to the party high command, a decision would not be easy. Soon after taking part in the election council meet, Thomas had gone to Delhi, fuelling speculations.

While at Vattiyoorkavu in the Kerala capital, K Muraleedharan has strongly backed Peethambara Kurup, a confidante of former Chief Minister K Karunakaran. The 'I' group of the party has also no objections in fielding Peethembara Kurup, a former MP. The Vattiyoorkvau seat had fell vacant after Muraleedharan was elected to the Lok Sabha. However, a group of workers had protested at Indira Bhavan against Kurup's candidature. The protesters said they were ready to accept any candidate other than Kurup. The name of K Mohan Kumar is also doing the rounds. The pitch for a young face is also getting lot of support.

The Congress is also keenly following the developments in the rival camps.

The CPM is considering to field young Thiruvananthapuram mayor V K Prasanth for Vattiyoorkavu. The BJP might bring in former Kerala unit chief Kummanam Rajasekharan, who had put up a stiff fight against Congress' Shashi Tharoor in the Lok Sabha polls.

For Konni in Pathanamthitta, former MLA Adoor Prakash has put forth the name of his supporter Robin Peter. Adoor Prakash has refused to go back on his demand, creating confusion among the leadership. Criticisms were also raised that such an attitude was very unbecoming for a Congress leader. But the Congress is also aware that the community equations too have to be considered while picking a candidate in Konni. P Mohanraj and Pazhakulam Madhu are also being considered.

In Aroor, Youth Congress leader S Rajesh and former district panchayat member K Rajeevan are being considered.

Senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy, Ramesh Chennithala and Mullappally Ramachandran had met twice on Wednesday and held discussions. As per Mullappally's suggestion not to openly discuss the names of candidates, each member gave in their opinions in writing.

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