Congress names Jebi Mather as RS candidate

She is the president of State Mahila Congress

March 19, 2022 12:31 am | Updated 12:48 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

A file photo of Jebi Mather, the Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha election, being greeted by Mahila Congress workers.

A file photo of Jebi Mather, the Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha election, being greeted by Mahila Congress workers. | Photo Credit: SPL

Ending weeks of uncertainty, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) late Friday nominated Jebi Mather as its candidate for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections on March 31.

She is currently vice-chairperson of the Aluva municipality and president of the State Mahila Congress.

By one account, gender and minority community status had worked to Ms. Mather's advantage. Moreover, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) wanted a woman Rajya Sabha member from Kerala after a hiatus of 42 years. It also helped that Rahul Gandhi had coasted to victory arguably on a groundswell of support from the minority community in the Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency.

Sending a message

The AICC has also unequivocally sent a message of gender equality and women empowerment by nominating Ms. Mather.

The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee's (KPCC) Rajya Sabha seat nomination had been in limbo for several weeks after factionalism reportedly precluded a consensus candidate.

An allegedly embattled KPCC president K. Sudhakaran held talks with factional leaders to test the water before finalising a name. He also had to factor in caste and age demographics. Finally, Mr. Sudhakaran removed himself from the selection process to dodge accusations of favouritism and patronage by sending a list of names to the party's high command.

The party is almost sure to bag the seat on the strength of the United Democratic Front's (UDF) numbers in the Assembly.

Spokespersons for various factional leaders had bandied about the name of different young and veteran leaders as a probable. They included M. Liju, UDF convener M.M. Hassan, an unnamed G-23 reformist leader K.V. Thomas, and Ms. Mather.

Eventually, the lot fell on Ms. Mather after AICC president Sonia Gandhi pushed her case.

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