Oommen Chandy personal agenda may run into air pockets

Jose K Mani, UDF's RS candidate, lands a major deal but impact yet to be seen.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress circles are abuzz with the speculation that Mr Oommen Chandy is eyeing the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat on a personal agenda, but there may be a backlash from the voters of Kottyam for the manner in which Kerala Congress (M) MP Jose K. Mani has been favoured. Senior Congress MLA K. Muraleedharan told DC that Mr Chandy, Mr P. K. Kunhalikutty and Mr Ramesh Chennithala had promised to give the Rajya Sabha seat to the KC(M) when they visited party chairman K. M. Mani at Pala seeking his support for the UDF in Chengannur.

Though KPCC leadership used to seek the senior Congress leaders’ views earlier on such matters, “this time, they held no deliberations with me or the other leaders. In fact, P. J. Kurien, P. C. Chacko and Benny Behanan were seeking other Congress leaders’ support for the RS seat and the top KPCC leadership was aware of it," he said.

Now the rift between the ‘supporters’ and ‘leaders’ has come to the fore. Another senior Congress MLA said Mr Mani and his son Jose K. Mani would be trounced in the next Lok Sabha elections if they enter the fray. “The junior Mani sought the help of the CPM and the BJP. But finding no response, he approached the UDF. The Idukki LS seat will go to the P. J. Joseph faction and Kottayam seat will be given to Chandy Oommen," said the MLA.

Such an eventuality will trigger another crisis. Mr Chandy has not tried to directly promote his son in active politics. Currently, Chandy Oommen, 32, is practising under Supreme Court lawyer M. R. Ramesh Babu in New Delhi. Mr Chandy Oommen had held the post of state Youth Congress secretary earlier. He has taken several degrees – BA History, LLB, MA and LLM Constitutional Law. Though he pursued M Phil in International Relations from New Delhi, he didn’t complete it. A DCC president from north Kerala said, "I doubt whether Chandy Oommen will be fielded from Kottayam. He does not have his father’s charisma or mass appeal. Will the YC and senior leaders support Chandy Oommen? Let's wait for May 2019," he said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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