Youth Cong presidential race heats up; Abin Varkey to take on Rahul Mamkootathil

Youth Congress flag

Thiruvananthapuram: The Youth Congress presidential race has heated up with an 'I' group nominee entering the fray at the eleventh hour.

While the ‘A’ group had decided to field Rahul Mamkootathil at least a couple of days ago, Abin Varkey Kodiyattu of the 'I' group submitted his nomination as late as 4 pm on Thursday, the last date for submitting the nominations.

Both Rahul and Abin are currently serving as the state general secretaries of the Youth Congress in Kerala.

Though the election marks yet another round of a direct fight between ‘A’ and ‘I’ groups, senior leaders including Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President K Sudhakaran, Opposition Leader V D Satheesan, and All-India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary K C Venugopal, who also holds the organizational charge, will not be taking any sides publicly this time.

However, sources say, these three leaders favour Abin Varkey, who is also regarded as a close aide of the KPCC president.

Abin also enjoys the support of the ‘I’ group led by Ramesh Chennithala. Rahul, on the other hand, has the outright support of the ‘A’ Group led by the outgoing Youth Congress president Shafi Parambil.

Both Rahul and Abin have worked together in the KSU (Kerala Students Union) as well as in the NSU (National Students Union), holding similar positions at the same time. They have also become familiar faces in Kerala and earned fame by attending panel discussions hosted by various TV news channels.

Rahul, 33, is also a member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee. The native of Adoor in Pathanamthitta has also served as the State General Secretary of the KSU and the National Secretary of the NSU. A post-graduate from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, he is currently pursuing a PhD at the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam.

Abin, 33, was also the National Secretary of the NSU. A native of Kolencherry in Ernakulam, he pursued a Civil Engineering degree from the Sree Narayana Gurukulam Engineering College in Kolencherry and also obtained a degree in law from the Law Academy.

Others in the fray

Besides Rahul and Abin, 12 others -- O J Janeesh, Vishnu Sunil, K A Abidali, S T Aneesh, T Anutaj, Aritha Babu, V P Dulkhifil, Jaz Nalil Pothen, S J Premraj, V K Shibna, S Vaisakh Darsan, and Veena S Nair -- too have submitted their nominations to the president’s post. They, however, are reportedly eyeing the Vice-Presidents’ post in the organization.

Meanwhile, Binu Chulliyil, who was earlier nominated as a candidate by those supporting K C Venugopal, has withdrawn from the contest. Although O J Janeesh, a staunch loyalist of Ramesh Chennithala, is among those who filed the nominations, the group has clarified that he is only aiming to become a Vice President.

General Secretary's race

As many as 200 persons have submitted their nominations to the post of State General Secretary in the organization. Of this, the 45 who wins the highest number of votes will be appointed to the position.

Voting from June 28

The distribution of membership and casting of votes is slated to begin from June 28 onwards. The candidate who wins the highest number of votes will be elected as the President, while the eight others who finish behind will be appointed as vice presidents.

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