Dissent over Congress candidates’ list in Kerala


Kochi: A day after announcing its list of 81 candidates for the assembly elections, the Congress party in Kerala Wednesday faced dissent from within its ranks when Padmaja Venugopal, daughter of late leader K. Karunakaran, voiced her dissatisfaction.

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After a meeting of her close aides and supporters of Karunakaran, she lamented that they have been given a raw deal in the selection of candidates.

“We had given a list around 18 candidates, all of whom stood with Karunakaran. At the end we pleaded for including at least six senior leaders. What we got was one seat and that too came through Rahul Gandhi,” Padmaja told reporters.

The Congress released the list of its 81 candidates for the April 13 assembly polls late Tuesday, comprising 44 new faces, 23 sitting legislators, eight former legislators and six who had lost earlier elections.

“We were assured by the party high command that due consideration would be given to us. We do not know what happened, but will get in touch with the high command to present our grievances,” Padmaja said, adding “we will whole heartedly campaign for the victory of the Congress led United Democratic Front”.

Former three-time Congress legislator Shobana George is also peeved that she has been left out and has announced that she would contest as a rebel candidate from Chenganur in Alappuzha district.

Reacting to her plan, state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that as a norm no Congress activist is expected to contest as a rebel.

“This has happened in the past. But when the deadline ends for the withdrawal of nominations, there would be no rebel candidate from the Congress party,” he said.

Senior Congress leader and former minister K.K. Ramachandran said it was not proper for both leader of opposition Oommen Chandy and Chennithala to contest.

“At least one of them should have kept away from the contest because there should be one responsible person to settle issues that arise out of seat-sharing between allies and also within the Congress party,” said Ramachandran.