Kochi: The Congress is yet to finalize its list of candidates despite hectic parleys in the national capital. Wednesday witnessed an outburst by party MPs and the intervention of the high-command.
In several constituencies, multiple candidates are vying for the party ticket, and with intraparty group equations coming into play, the Congress high-command issued a stern warning to the State leaders.
Congress MPs from the State felt that they were being sidelined and group leaders were deciding on the candidates without their knowledge. The MPs minced no words and spoke their mind at a breakfast meeting with MPs that KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala and former chief minister Oommen Chandy had convened at the Kerala House.
MPs K Sudhakaran, M K Raghavan, T N Prathapan and Rajmohan Unnithan did not hold back their resentment. They termed the discussions on candidates a farce since the group leaders were finalizing names of their liking, ignoring the list sent to them.
Refusing to take up the responsibility of the poll outcome, Raghavan demanded the leaders to own up if any of ‘their’ candidates fail in the electoral battle. AICC general secretary in-charge of Kerala Tariq Anwar said he would convey the MPs’ concerns to the high-command.
Vadakara MP K Muraleedharan, who stayed away from the meet, met the State leaders later in the evening and registered his protest. He demurred the offer to head the election campaign committee.
The party high-command intervened when the arguments and counter-arguments led to a deadlock. AICC general secretaries K C Venugopal and Tariq Anwar conveyed the State leaders a message from Rahul Gandhi that factional feuds and sharing seats based on group affiliation would not be allowed.
They also strongly recommended to reserve- without compromise--60 per cent of the seats to fresh faces. The high-command also expressed its displeasure over the central election committee’s failure in announcing the candidates on Wednesday.
Prolonged discussions to zero-in on a single candidate in each constituency has been remaining inconclusive. The central election committee is now hoping to release the list of candidates by Thursday evening.
Chavara: Shibu Baby John (Former minister)
Iravipuram: Babu Diwakaran (Former minister)
Kunnathur: Ullas Kovoor (Members, RYF central secretariat)
Attingal: A Sreedharan (Former CPI worker, former education officer, Attingal sub-district)