Kerala elections | An emergent Youth Congress attempts to sway candidate selection in its favour

Congress leader and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Youth Congress district president T.H. Firos at the concluding session of the ‘Ham Chalo Yatra’ organised by the Youth Congress district committee in Palakkad on Sunday. K.K. MUSTAFAH  

In Kerala, an emergent Youth Congress (YC) has reportedly impelled the party’s national leadership to give at least 60% weightage to youngsters in candidate selection for the State Assembly polls on April 6.

Ahead of the AICC’s screening committee meeting in New Delhi on March 10, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has reportedly argued for more electoral space in the party for youth political expression.

He has reportedly directed the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) to go beyond merely suggesting the names of a smattering of YC and Kerala Students Union leaders and ensure the generational shift truly reflected in candidate selection. Mr. Gandhi has also batted for more representation of women. The KPCC has insisted that at least one woman candidate be in the fray from each district.

The YC had vociferously demanded that the old guard make way for the new. It had opposed the candidature of senior leaders and batted for fresh faces.

The organisation had also attempted to impact coalition seat sharing. It had publicly opposed the move to cede Chadayamangalam and Muvattupuzha seats to the Indian Union Muslim League and the Kerala Congress Joseph faction, respectively.

The YC had also attempted to set the political agenda. It was at the forefront of the agitation against backdoor appointments and postings for PSC rank holders. A party insider said the Congress planned to contest in at least 92 seats. It had to factor in caste and communal equations in candidate selection.

Moreover, the KPCC had to strike a balance between experience and youth. Hence, the KPCC might convince the AICC that it could not meet the 60% benchmark set for youth in candidate selection.

KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy are in New Delhi to attend the AICC screening committee meeting.

The Congress also has to contend with public opposition to some candidates. Posters appeared in various constituencies against candidates, many of them veterans and even newcomers, purportedly preferred by the State leadership.

Mr. Ramachandran was likely to contest from Kannur. Sitting MLAs were unlikely to be disturbed. An insider said the latest survey by the Congress posited that it would win between 73 to 76 seats in the current political scenario.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 7:16:54 PM |

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