Thiruvananthapuram, March 12: Top leaders of the Congress in Kerala, armed with a list of probable candidates, have gone to Delhi.
In the past, candidates selection hit a road block due to factional feuds, but this time around, if media and internal party reports are to be believed, things appear to be smooth.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, State Congress president V.M. Sudheeran, UDF convenor P.P. Thankachen and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala have been authorised by the state party to apprise the party high command of the probable candidates.
Kerala sends 20 members to the Lok Sabha and for a long time the pattern of seat sharing in the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) has been Congress – 17, Indian Union Muslim League – two, and Kerala Congress (Mani) – one.
In the 2009 polls, the Congress won 13 of the 17 seats allocated to it, while the IUML won from both constituencies and KC (Mani) won its seat too.
But this time there’s going to be a change as the Congress has already decided to give a seat each to Socialist Janata Democratic – SJD, which joined the UDF ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, and the newest ally Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP).
The RSP was Tuesday admitted into the UDF after it parted ways with the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front. The RSP ended its more than three decades’ association after it was not allotetd the Kollam Lok Sabha seat by the LDF.
“There is no political opportunism in giving RSP a seat…in politics, it’s to act at the appropriate time. Their credentials have been proved while they were very loyal in the LDF. So, there’s nothing wrong in we including them as our new ally,” said Sudheeran.
As a result of this rejig, the Congress will have to be contend with 15 seats, as the sitting Kollam seat has been given to the RSP and the Palakkad seat to the SJD.
Of the 15, the names that are expected to be cleared by the high command include Minister Shashi Tharoor- Thiruvananthapuram, K.V.Thomas – Ernakulam, and Mulapally Ramachandran – Vatakara.
The other two ministers – K.C.Venugopal from Alappuzha and Kodikunnil Suresh from Mavelikera – are also on the list and their fate would be decided by the party high command.
Then comes the list of sitting members and those most likely to be renominated include the JPC chairman on the 2G scandal P.C. Chacko. It remains to be seen if he will contest from Thrissur, from where he is the sitting MP, or move to the adjoining constituency at Chalakudy which is held by the Congress party and represented by K.P.Dhanapalan.
There is a likelihood of the two swapping their seats.
K.Sudhakaran who represents the Kannur seat, which is the headquarters of the CPI-M, is also highly likely to get cleared, so is Anto Antony from Pathanamthitta and M.K.Raghavan from Kozhikode.
The list of doubtfuls includes P.T.Thomas from Idukki as he has had to face the wrath of the strong Catholic Church which has already expressed its displeasure against him to Defence Minister A.K.Antony.
Another Congress MP whose fate hangs in balance is M.I.Shahnawaz from the Wayanad seat. Added to these, the party has to name three candidates to contest from Alathur, Kasargode and Attingal which are currently held by the CPI-M.
The list of hopefuls include women leaders like Bindu Krishna, Shanimol Usman and K.A. Sheeba besides T. Siddiq and C.K. Sreedharan.
The dark horse in the list is G. Mohan Gopal, lawyer and director of the Congress party’s Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Contemporary Studies He is also on the party’s election co-ordination committee headed by party vice president Rahul Gandhi.