Unhappy with Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s “campus recruitment” of candidates for the April 13 elections, many leaders are now bent on upsetting the party’s apple cart.
Though former chief minister K Karunakaran’s son K Muraleedharan is on the list, his daughter Padmaja Venugopal has called a meeting in Kochi to deplore the poor representation given to the group owing allegiance to her father.
Apart from Muraleedharan, former state chief minister Oommen Chandy and Kerala Congress unit chief Ramesh Chennithala are prominent among the Congress’s 81 candidates of the 140 in the state. The rest have been left for the other members of the United Democratic Front.
Former MLA Shobhana George has announced her decision to contest from Chenganoor (Alapuzha district) as an Independent. Youth Congress leader Jaya Daly has quit the party, also to contest as an Independent from Kattakada in Thiruvananthapuram district. The Left Democratic Front has offered support to her. At least three more are planning to enter the fray as rebels.
Due to the intervention of Rahul Gandhi, many young faces got the ticket this time. Though the state leadership was of the view that the experienced had greater chances of winning, the central leadership put its foot down to accommodate more young candidates.
Rahul Gandhi had suggested at least 22 of such young candidates. Of those, the Congress gave the ticket to 18.
The biggest surprise is the selection of KT Benny, of whom not much is known in the Congress circles. He worked in Tamil Nadu as part of Rahul Gandhi’s team, and there the Congress leader was impressed by his organisational abilities, a party insider said.
“It is difficult to give tickets to all. We will convince the upset ones (of this). The party will move ahead united to clinch a stunning victory,” Chennithala said.