KERALA

Kodikunnil Suresh begins campaign

KOLLAM, MARCH 3. Kodikunnil Suresh, Congress leader and former MP, who had represented the constituency in the 13th Lok Sabha, has already commenced his campaign in Adoor in the hope that he would be given the Congress ticket again.

The Transport Minister and Kerala Congress (B) leader, R. Balakrishna Pillai, had declared that his party would not campaign for the UDF if Mr. Suresh were the candidate. If the former MP is chosen as the Congress candidate, the contest in Adoor would be one of the most keenly-watched ones in the State. Out of the seven Assembly segments in the Adoor Lok Sabha constituency, the Kerala Congress(B) has two representatives in the Assembly_ Mr. Pillai, from Kottarakara, and K.B. Ganesh Kumar, Mr. Pillai's son, from Pathanapuram. It is a fact that the Kerala Congress(B) is a force to reckon with in the constituency.

Asked about Mr. Pillai's stand against him, Mr. Suresh told The Hindu that the issue should be taken up by the UDF liaison committee, particularly because Mr. Pillai was a Minister in the UDF Cabinet. He, however, refused to make any comments about Mr. Pillai's stand.

He said that he was confident of victory irrespective of the Kerala Congress(B) stand, as he had nursed the constituency during his tenure as MP. Mr. Suresh's campaign managers alleged that the Kerala Congress (B) was extending overt and covert support for the victory of the LDF candidate, Chengara Surendran, of the CPI. According to them, the Kerala Congress(B) had a strong say in the CPI finalising Mr. Surendran as the candidate. Otherwise, it was the CPI leader and former president of the Kollam district panchayat, K. Devaki, who had the edge, they alleged.

There have been news reports that Mr. Surendran has been calling regularly on Mr. Pillai, after his candidature was announced. Mr. Surendran was also a special invitee at a recent Mannam commemoration function organised by the Pathanapuram Taluk Union of the Nair Service Society, of which Mr. Pillai is the president.

Meanwhile, Mr. Suresh's campaign is largely concentrating on earning the support of the youth.