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Congress candidate list likely today

Decision on 12 constituencies problematic

March 15, 2019 11:42 pm | Updated March 16, 2019 08:28 am IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Congress' wall graffiti with its election symbol announces a ‘booked wall’ at Tripunithura

Congress' wall graffiti with its election symbol announces a ‘booked wall’ at Tripunithura

The Congress high command is likely to announce on Saturday the names of candidates to all the 16 seats it will contest in the April 23 Lok Sabha elections.

The Congress screening committee, which met in Delhi, was unable to make much headway in selection of candidates to 12 constituencies, including the sitting seats such as Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, and Vadakara.

The main problem was the reluctance of seniors such as KPCC president Mullappally Ramachandran and AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal to contest from their constituencies — Vadakara and Alappuzha.

The committee decided to keep the Pathanamthitta seat open presumably for former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy till a decision is taken by the high command.

Sources said Mr. Chandy was disinclined to contest but senior leaders were hopeful of the high command persuading him. The meeting between AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik and K.V. Thomas, who represents Ernakulam, triggered off speculation about a change in Ernakulam.

In Wayanad

The party leadership will also have to identify a candidate for Wayanad. In 2009, when elections were first held to the constituency post-delimitation, the Congress had fielded a Muslim candidate in what it considered a sure seat from the Malabar region.

On all previous occasions, the Congress’ attempts to get a candidate from the Muslim community elected from a Malabar constituency had failed. However, the late M.I. Shanavas won from Wayanad in 2009 and 2014, with record margins.

The party now has to identify a candidate who would maintain the winning streak. There was speculation that Mr. Venugopal might be considered for Wayanad but senior leaders would not confirm this. The Congress will be forced to do a rethink in Vadakara as a result of the CPI(M)’s decision to field P. Jayarajan.

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