Youths, fresh faces to dominate Congress candidate list in Kerala

UDF poised to go ahead, now neck and neck with LDF: Survey

Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress election committee has decided to allot 50% of the assembly seats it would contest for young and new candidates in the upcoming state polls in Kerala.

Those who have faced consecutive defeats in the previous Legislative Assembly elections and those who lost in the last local body polls are unlikely to get tickets for the over 90 seats on which the party is expected to contest as part of the opposition political combine United Democratic Front (UDF).

"It cannot be said now if all the sitting MLAs will be given seats," said Oommen Chandy, the former chief minister who heads the election management and strategy committee, on Friday. The committee has decided only to look at the chances of winning while selecting candidates.

The decision of the CPM and CPI, the two major constituents of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), to keep out the seasoned leaders or legislators have created a flutter in the Congress too. With the LDF about to field fresh faces mostly, the Congress leadership is also under pressure to go for a generational shift.

Congress leader Mullappally Ramachandran
Congress leader Mullappally Ramachandran

Senior Congress leaders Mullappally Ramachandran, PJ Kurian, PC Chacko and VM Sudheeran have already announced they would not contest in the election.

Soon after, veteran leaeder KV Thomas asked the AICC-KPCC leadership to instruct that all leaders above the age of 70, other than Oommen Chandy, should also stay out of the poll fray.

PJ Kurien
PJ Kurien

In the LDF, the CPI decided to keep out those who have contested thrice and the CPM decided to avoid those who had won twice or more consecutively. With this, 8 ministers are out of the poll fray.

The candidate screening committee of the Congress will meet on Saturday and further talks will be held in Delhi. The panel of names for each constituency in Kerala would be handed over to the High Command.

Oommen Chandy said that the UDF seat-sharing would be finalised soon. He also said that Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi-Vadhera would campaign.

The election committee will finalise the draft of the UDF poll manifesto on Saturday. It would be then discussed by the UDF leadership and released.  

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