Kerala Congress unveils list
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and all his Cabinet colleagues, barring one, are on the first list of 71 candidates released by the Congress for the forthcoming Assembly polls in the Congress-ruled state.
While a majority of the sitting MLAs are in the fray, the party has tried to dilute the heavy burden of incumbency by accommodating around one-third of the new faces, including youths, on the list in which there are only two women — -Savithri Lakshmanan and Simmy Rosebell— Muslims and nine SCs. The Congress will contest 77 seats, leaving the rest for the nine-party UDF alliance it heads even as it departed from practice in coming out with its list well in advance.
While Chandy will contest from his home constituency Puthupally in Kottayam district, Speaker T Ramakrishan will seek reelection from Thrissur. A surprise entrant in the list is R Unnithan who had raised the banner of revolt against the Congress during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
The Congress has denied tickets to four MLAs while five legislators, including finance minister V. Purushothaman and Mercy Ravi, wife of Union Overseas Minister Vayalar Ravi, had opted out of the contest. It denied tickets to four other MLAs.
It did not announce its nominees for six segments as differences remained on the choice of candidates. Senior leaders whose name figure in the list include K. Sudhakaran (Kannur), P Balan (Thrithala), K Achuthan (Chittur), K A Chandran (Kollengode), Savithri Lakshmanan (Chalakudy), Kadavoor Shivadasan (Kundara), G Karthikeyan (Ariyanad), N Sundaran Nadar (Parassala).
Meanwhile, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) has almost finalized seat-sharing talks. Like the CPM, which has fielded 38 new faces, CPI has also denied tickets to those who had contested more than twice. Except the CPI which retained its share of 24 seats, all other constituents were forced to surrender some of their seats.