The elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala on April 20 have turned interesting with many Congress leaders vying for a berth in the upper house of Parliament. The Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) – both partners in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) – are certain to win a seat each, the third one will go to the CPM, the major constituent of the opposition Left Democratic Front (LDF).
Three seats are falling vacant on April 21 with the retirement of former Union minister Vayalar Ravi, CPM leader P Rajeeve and CPI’s MP Achuthan.
While IUML general secretary KPA Majeed is likely to be the party candidate, the CPM is all set to nominate former Students Federation of Indian (SFI) national president KK Ragesh to replace Rajeeve who has been appointed as the party’s Ernakulam district committee secretary.
Apart from 78-year-old Ravi, the names of former union minister Kapil Sibal, party’s Delhi in-charge PC Chacko, Kerala unit chief VM Sudheeran, state vice president MM Hassan, UDF convenor and four-time legislator PP Thankachan, Rahul Gandhi’s close aide Mohan Gopal and Thiruvananthapuram district president K Mohan Kumar are doing the rounds.
Congress sources said Sibal’s name has been proposed by the party’s anti-liquor lobby which is upbeat after the Kerala high court on Tuesday upheld the state government’s liquor policy. Sibal had represented the state government in the matter.
Though Ravi’s nomination is being opposed by young leaders on the ground that he has had an uninterrupted run from 2003 onwards and this will be his fourth term in the Rajya Sabha, a source said he could eventually emerge as a consensus candidate with all factions rallying behind him to keep others out of the race.