Thiruvananthapuram: The AICC released a list of 83 candidates on Monday barring Kalliasseri, Payyanur and Kanhangad where it wanted candidates with better chances. Former Thodupuzha legislator P. T. Thomas has replaced Benny Behanan in Thrikkakara in the final list. In 2011, Congress had contested only in 82 seats, which could go up to 86 or 87 in the final count.
Amritha Ramakrishnan (Kalliasseri), Sajid Mouval (Payyanur) and Dhanya Sumesh (Kanhangad) had found a place in the list of probables submitted by KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran. The state leadership now has to find some “formidable” candidates to replace them.
High drama prevailed since morning when Mr Behanan rejected the media reports that he was not on the list. But within hours, he backtracked and said he was bowing out as he lost the trust of KPCC president.
“I have informed my decision to the leadership,” he told reporters after an emotional meeting with colleagues where Hibi Eden broke down. “Even the Opposition has not leveled any allegations against me. I am withdrawing as I do not wish to create a scene before the CM or the party president.” He said he would campaign for Mr Thomas.
Mr Thomas said he had hoped that he would be given a role in the KPCC and not as a candidate. During the marathon talks in New Delhi in the screening committee and central election committee meetings which lasted almost a week, Mr Sudheeran had requested the AICC leadership not to field five legislators whom he described as ‘tainted.'
However, Mr Chandy opposed it saying he also faced several allegations, and he would also opt out of the fray. Meanwhile, allegations have been raised against Mr Behanan citing that he forged the email of Kodungalloor MLA T. N. Prathapan, which allegedly forced the AICC leadership to axe him.
But none of the Congress leaders were ready to confirm this allegation.
After the 83 candidates list had been announced, Mr Chandy told reporters that Mr Behanan had announced his decision to step down even before the final list was released.
Mr Sudheeran said since the final list has come, there is no more dispute on the list. He said the list is appropriate, and his aim is to bring the UDF government back to power for which he urged the party cadres to work hard....