Name of George Thomas tops the list

The Janata Dal (Secular) was unable to announce its candidate for the Kottayam Lok Sabha constituency on Friday as well despite there being just two names on the panel sent to the party central leadership.

The primary name on the list was that of JD(S) State vice-president George Thomas. Party State president Mathew T. Thomas’s name was squeezed into the list following pressure from a section within the party.

Now it appears to be a case of the JD(S) insisting on Mr. Mathew T. Thomas contesting the polls. The catch is that he is an MLA representing the Thiruvalla Assembly segment, which he had wrested from the UDF in a hard-fought battle in 2011.

According to JD(S) sources, Mr. Mathew T. Thomas, who had led the JD(S) fight to secure the Kottayam seat for his party, had from the very beginning made it clear that he was not interested in leaving his constituency and the people who had voted for him halfway through his tenure. However, the party leadership appears keen that he should contest from the constituency. The delay in the JD(S) finalising its candidate is delaying the Opposition Left Democratic Front’s collective declaration of its candidate list, causing much embarrassment to the State unit of the JD(S) and its leaders.

Kerala Congress (M) nominee in Kottayam Jose K. Mani had already completed two rounds of personal-level campaign. With just about three weeks left for the campaign, the JD(S) nominee, as and when he enters the fray, will have a tough time catching up with his main UDF rival.

Although the JD(S) has not hit the campaign trail, candidates of all the other LDF constituents have begun their campaign in right earnest. Several of them have already called on important social and community leaders and the LDF’s election conventions in most constituencies are scheduled to take place on Sunday.

On Friday, the CPI(M) had refused to spare seats for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Kerala Congress (KC) led by former Union Minister P.C. Thomas. During bilateral discussions here on Thursday, CPI(M) leaders made it clear that the NCP could not be given a seat as it belonged to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the national level. They also told Kerala Congress leaders that they would have to work with the LDF without getting to fight any seat.

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