Ravi defends his stand on list

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, MARCH 3. The AICC general secretary, Vayalar Ravi, today openly came out in support of submitting a panel of candidates for the 17 Lok Sabha seats the Congress would contest in the State.

Talking to mediapersons here, Mr. Ravi said that he was not opposed to a unanimous list, but since the Election Committee was entrusted with the task of selecting the candidates, it would have to be done after discussions. He said that apart from the winning factor, candidates should be selected on the basis of the constituency profile. "The electorate will not consider whether a candidate is part of a panel. They vote for the party and the candidate," Mr. Ravi pointed out.

He said that he had his own calculations while submitting a set of candidates for the consideration of the election panel. He had urged the Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, the acting KPCC president and the Congress president to select candidates from a panel, as the selection involved several stages. Faction and social divisions is a reality. But the effort should be to choose the right candidate on the basis of constituency profile," he said.

In reply to a question, he said that the election committee was not processing the selection of candidates on the basis of factional loyalties. While assessing the winning chances of the candidates, it was but natural to consider factional and community representation, he added.

Mr. Ravi launched a virulent attack on the rath yatra planned by the Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani, alleging that it was intended to create a communal divide. Asked whether he felt that the Kerala Government should ban the yatra, he said that it was for the Government to decide. "We are not opposed to such moves, but we are against misusing official machinery for elections," he said.