Crisis in Kerala after Congress releases first list of Lok Sabha poll candidates1 min read . Updated: 17 Mar 2019, 09:04 AM IST
- The names to four seats out of 16 it is contesting in Kerala were not announced due to disagreements within the party
- The four seats are Wayanad, Attingal, Alappuzha and Vadakkara
Bengaluru: After almost three days of discussion, the Congress in Delhi announced a partial list of poll candidates in Kerala on Saturday late night. Due to heavy disagreements within, the names to four seats out of 16 it is contesting in Kerala were not announced, said Congress opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala. The four seats are Wayanad, Attingal, Alappuzha and Vadakkara—where multiple names are doing the rounds with considerable infighting between the factions, known as groups in Kerala, to secure a ticket, according to Congress insiders.
The list of names announced also met with protests within the party. The list includes all sitting MPs like Shashi Tharoor except one, senior leader KV Thomas. As expected, senior leaders such as Oommen Chandy, KC Venugopal and Mullappally Ramachandran were not in the list. The surprise axing of Thomas, sitting MP from Ernakulam, has left him red-faced and protesting.
Thomas, a five-time MP who is closely connected to the Catholic Church, strongly reacted against his replacement by Ernakulam MLA Hibi Eden. "This is shocking. I was not even given a hint. It is not my fault that I turned 72," he told reporters. He remained silent when asked whether he would defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party in protest, and later said no one had contacted him from the BJP.
The move also upsets the group equations in Congress. Eden is from what is known as 'I' group within Congress, led by Chennithala, while Thomas belongs to rebel 'A' group which is loyal to former chief minister Oommen Chandy.
Eden is the only sitting MLA in the poll fray as of now, a move that could be read as the party's tight contest against high profile panel announced by its main enemy in Kerala, the communists-led Left Democratic Front.
Meanwhile, the selection of Congress spokesperson Raj Mohan Unnithan as against the widely expected old-timer Subbayya Rai in Kasargod has also not gone well done among the cadres. A rebel faction might complaint against the move to Congress leadership, said a party leader from the region, requesting anonymity.
Raj Mohan Unnithan (Kasargode),
K. Sudhakaran (Kannur)
MK Raghavan (Kozhikode)
VK Sreekantan (Palakkad)
Hibi Eden (Ernakulam)
Remya Haridas (Alathur)
Benny Behanan (Chalakudy)
TN Pratapan (Thrissur)
Hibi Eden (Ernakulam)
Dean Kuriakose (Idukki).
Anto Antony (Pathanamthitta)
Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavellikkara)
Shashi Tharoor (Thiruvananthapuram)