With seven having lost previous elections and five first-timers, the Congress' list of 16 candidates for the Lok Sabha poll from Kerala has led to discontent and dismay amongst party workers in the state.
The list was announced in Delhi on Thursday with former UN under secretary general Shashi Tharoor the star debutant from the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha seat. The Congress, which will be contesting 17 of the 20 seats in the state, has yet to declare its candidate for the Vadakara seat in north Kerala.
The first signs of trouble were seen in Kochi where Youth Congress and students union activists burnt an effigy of Congress legislator KV Thomas because they were upset that the Ernakulam seat had not been given to Hibi Eden, the newly appointed chief of the National Students Union of India.
Then, president of the women's wing of the Congress Shanimol Usman, who was eyeing Alappuzha and got Kasargode instead, turned down the party's offer.
"I have already informed the leaders that I am not interested in contesting from Kasargode due to personal reasons," Usman, who had lost the Kasargode seat in the last election, told reporters in Alappuzha.
The list of 'losers' has spelt doom for workers, who remember only too well the debacle in 2004 when the Congress lost all the 17 seats it contested.
Leading the pack, said a party worker, was general secretary MI Shahnawaz, who has been fielded from Wayanad despite losing in the six assembly and Lok Sabha elections he has contested.
PC Chacko has got Trissur, making a comeback after his 1999 loss; Sateeshan Pacheni is the man from Palakkad seat after having lost to Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan in the 2006 assembly polls.
Then, there is Anto Antony who lost the 2004 election from Kottayam and is now contesting from Pathanamthitta seat, PT Thomas, who was defeated in the 2006 assembly polls but managed to bag Idukki, as well as Usman. The seventh in the losers' list is Kodikunnil Suresh, who is being fielded from Mavelikara.
In the first timers list are KP Dhanapalan from Chalakudy, Tharoor, NK Sudheer from Alathur, MK Raghavan from Kozhikode and G Balachandran from Attingal.
"I am surprised. I expected that the list would contain more youth and women. I don't know what happened," said former Congress leader and Wayanad seat aspirant KC Rosakutty.
The Congress has only 26 days before the elections on April 16 to unify its forces and work towards victory.