The AICC has reportedly finalised the list of candidates of several States and discussions with Kerala leaders have been initiated in tune with these moves.

KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala on Thursday expressed confidence that the rout of the Congress in four States – Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan – in the recent Assembly elections would not affect the party’s prospects in Kerala in the forthcoming Lok Sabha poll.

“The Assembly polls are fought on State issues, whereas the Lok Sabha poll result is based on national issues, governance etc. So, there is no problem for the Congress/UDF in Kerala, and we are confident of winning a majority number of seats,” Mr. Chennithala told The Hindu, after meeting Congress general secretaries Madhusudan Mistry and C.P. Joshi to discuss the candidates’ list for the Lok Sabha poll.

The list of candidates has to be finalised by February 1, when the model code of conduct is expected to come into force.

The second round of discussions will be held on December 24 when Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is expected to visit Delhi. Mr. Chennithala will also join the discussions at that time.

The AICC has reportedly finalised the list of candidates of several States and discussions with Kerala leaders have been initiated in tune with these moves. The basic premise is to give candidates contesting the elections a headstart in electioneering. At Thursday’s meeting, Mr. Chennithala is understood to have informed the AICC leaders that the Kerala leadership’s views on candidate selection can be submitted only after discussions with the 30-member election committee of the KPCC.

If the speed with which the AICC seems to be moving, it appears that the State Congress leadership will have to open dialogues with United Democratic Front (UDF) partners for formalising a well-accepted seat-sharing formula, prior to convening its election committee.

This time around, the Congress would have to consider the Socialist Janata (Democratic) party’s claim for a seat. In fact, this aspect gives an opportunity for the Congress leadership to reopen the candidates selection process by bringing in certain criteria for ticket distribution. It is also possible that sitting Members of Parliament will be put on the chopping block depending on their performance ratings.

The push towards early candidates’ selection comes at a time when it has not been able to finalise the nominees of the KPCC executive committee and the composition of the District Congress Committees.

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