Thiruvananthapuram: The senior Congress leaders developing cold feet over the Lok Sabha elections has made the AICC jittery as this may send wrong signals to the voters when the situation in the state was turning favourable to the UDF. The senior leaders have repeatedly expressed their desire to keep off the fray, which is likely to boomerang on the party. Whatever advantage the Congress had gained following the brutal killing of Youth Congress workers at Periya is on the wane following the reluctance of the leaders to go for the kill in the polls.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi, before he left for New Delhi from Kozhikode on Thursday evening, held a round of talks with the KPCC leaders on the candidates’ list. The meeting was also attended by Muslim League leaders. CWC member Oommen Chandy, former KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran and sitting Vatakara MP Mullapally Ramachandran were under pressure from the high command and the state workers to become candidates. Chandy could opt for Idukki or Pathanamthitta and Sudheeran Alappuzha, Thrissur or Chalakudy.
Mullapally was told to defend the Vatakara sitting seat. But the KPCC was also hoping to give Idukki to Kerala Congress (M) working chairman and sitting Thodupuzha MLA P.J. Joseph. Pathanamthitta MP Anto Antony is in trouble with the local DCC leadership objecting to his candidature.
“If Joseph is given Idukki, the Muslim League will demand one more seat apart from its two sitting seats. In that case, Vatakara seat will be given to Muslim League and RMP leader K.K. Rema will be fielded as the UDF candidate from there,” said a senior Congress MLA.
Rema, wife of slain RMP leader T. P. Chandrasekharan, told DC that no official had been held on her becoming the UDF candidate. A senior Congress leader told DC that the uncertainty in central Kerala was caused by the gifting of the Rajya Sabha seat to KC (M) vice-chairman and the then sitting Lok Sabha MP Jose K. Mani.
“The majority of Congress leaders had objected to the decision then, and now things are beyond our control. But it is not easy to part with Idukki and Vatakara, which are Congress seats,” he said. He also recalled that the AICC leadership had criticised the KPCC leadership when it gave the Rajya Sabha seat to the then JD (U) chairman M.P. Veerendra Kumar, who later joined the LDF....