Thiruvananthapuram: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C. Kappen, 63, will be the LDF candidate for the Pala Assembly byelection to be held on September 23. The NCP chose him at its meeting here on Wednesday and the decision was later conveyed to the LDF by a three-member committee comprising T.P. Peetha-mbaran Master, Thomas Chandy and A.K. Saseendran. Mr Kappen will submit his nomination papers on Saturday.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate the LDF election convention in Palai on September 4.
The bypoll was necessitated by the demise of sitting MLA and Kerala Congress (M) chairman K.M. Mani on April 9.
This will be the fourth electoral battle for Mr Kappen as LDF candidate from the same constituency. He was all the time defeated by K.M. Mani who represented the seat from its inception in 1965. However, he could reduce Mani’s victory margin from 7,759 in 2006 to 4, 703 in 2016. In, 2011 he lost by 5,259 votes.
Meanwhile, a section of NCP opposed the party decision to field Mr Kappen in the constituency. State committee member Sabu Abraham filed a complaint with the state leadership pointing out that a full-time party member and not someone who props up only at the time of elections should be fielded.
The son of a former member of Parliament Cherian J. Kappen, who was also a freedom fighter, Mr Kappen is a well-known figure in the Malayalam film field. He is also the state treasurer of the NCP and convener of its overseas cell. He was the captain of the Calicut University volleyball team in 1977 and later he joined the (KSEB) as a sports assistant. In 1978, he shifted to the Abu Dhabi Sports Club and played four years there. After returning home, he began a real estate business in Pala and produced the blockbuster film, ‘Meleparambil Aanveedu,’ directed ‘Mannar Mathai Speaking’ and acted in a few movies. He joined the Congress (Tiwari) in 1995 as its treasurer in the state. It later merged with thew Congress (S) and he reached the NCP in 1999 after another merger.
The NCP chose him considering that he had reduced Mani's lead below 5,000 votes last time. The Kerala Congress (M) may field Ms Nisha, daughter-in-law of Mani.
In 2001, the late Uzhavur Vijayan had unsuccessfully fought against Mani who won by a margin of 24, 500 votes....