Thiruvananthapuram: The Congress will field former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman in Ottapalam, former MLA A. K. Mani in Devikulam, Amritha Ramakrishnan in Kalliassery, Sajid Mouval in Payyannur and Dhanya Suresh in Kanhangad.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, KPCC president V. M. Sudheeran and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala selected the candidates after talks in the morning. Kaipamangalam has been given to the RSP.
“There would not be any more changes in the list. The final declaration will be made by the AICC leadership,” said Mr Sudheeran. Meanwhile, the AICC leadership has cleared the candidates’ list proposed by the KPCC leadership.
Earlier, KPCC general secretary Shanta Jayaram was chosen for Ottapalam, but due to mounting pressure from the local Congress leaders, she was dropped. Sources told DC that the Congress rejected the RSP demand for Payyanur. RSP’s A. P. Mohammed Nahas is likely to be the new candidate of Kaipamangalam as K. P. Noorudeen was not keen to contest.
“Though the Congress wanted Kaipamanalam, the RSP demanded Payyannur. But this was opposed by the Congress and instead offered Kalliassery seat,” said a Congress leader.
KSU Thrissur district president Sobha Subin was considered earlier for Kaipamangalam. R. Rajaram, Congress Idukki mandalam president, was also removed as Devikulam candidate following opposition.
Efforts are also on to pacify INTUC state president R. Chandrasekharan who has demanded trade union representation. Mr Sudheeran said the talks with the INTUC chief will continue. They are demanding Tavanur. The party hopes to solve all the issues amicably on Sunday, he said.
Meanwhile, the local Congress leaders insisted that Dhanya Suresh, Sajid Mouval and Amritha Ramakrishnan have winning chances in Kanhangad, Payyanur and Kalliassery respectively. The AICC leadership had rejected these candidates when it announced the list of 83 candidates earlier.
It is unfair, says Shantha Jayaram
KPCC general secretary Shantha Jayaram, who has been replaced by Shanimol Usman in Ottapalam, is unhappy. But R. Rajaram, who had started his campaign in Devikulam, is not unhappy about handing over the baton to KPCC vice-president A. K. Mani, his mentor.
Shantha Jayaram, who had contested in Shoranur in the 2011 Assembly elections, lost to K. S. Saleeha by more than 13, 000 votes. Though she had started her campaign in Ottapalam, the local leadership expressed their unhappiness over her candidature.
The KPCC leadership grabbed this opportunity to drop her and instead bring back former AICC secretary Shanimol into the fray. She was considered first at Ambalapuzha and later at Aroor which was later given to JDU and Congress candidate C. R. Jayaprakash respectively at the last minute.
“I was not informed by the KPCC leadership that I have been removed. I had already started my campaign in Ottapalam and it is unfair that I have been ousted,” said Santha Jayaram.
Like her, Rajaram, 47, too had started his campaign after the UDF convention held at Devikulam on Wednesday last. But he told DC that he was not peeved with the KPCC’s decision to remove him and instead field Mani there. There were reports earlier that Rajaram was not permitted to go inside the INTUC office by the supporters of PCC vice-president Mani.
Party sources told DC that this was one of the main reasons why Rajaram was removed. “Mani chetan is my leader. So I don’t feel sad about dropping me. I will campaign for him and make sure that UDF wins here,” said Rajaram who was initiated into politics at the age of 19. Rajaram was a tea estate labourer for over 26 years along with his trade union activities in INTUC.