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Kerala polls: Cong candidate selection runs into hurdle

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy expressed his desire to withdraw from the electoral fray

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Mar 30 2016 2:53PM | Updated Date: Mar 30 2016 2:55PM

Kerala polls: Cong candidate selection runs into hurdle

Congress party's selection of candidates for upcoming Kerala Assembly elections ran into hurdle as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy expressed his desire  to withdraw from the electoral fray.

A close aide of Chandy told news agency IANS that things are in a state of uncertainty as state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran is resolute and wants to replace a few senior party leaders on the ground that some are under a cloud, While others have been in the fray for long.
Since last couple of days, Kerala's top leaders are in Delhi and two rounds of screening committee meeting of the candidates were held. 
Trouble began after Sudheeran asked that ministers facing allegations and veterans should step aside.
Chandy has already conveyed his mind to the national leadership that if this is what the yardsticks are, he is the one who is facing the maximum allegations and has won every election since 1970. Hence, he would step aside.
Senior party legislator and K. Karunakaran's son K. Muraleedharan, who is also in Delhi, said that in no way should the Congress party sit in judgement over leaders when the court has not said anything about the allegations that have been levelled against ministers.
The game plan of Sudheeran is to checkmate both Chandy and Chennithala, and instead of directly attacking them, he is targeting the close aides of the two leaders.
Sudheeran, who was in political wilderness after losing the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, got a new lease of life in 2014 when much to the surprise of practically every Congress leader in the state, Rahul Gandhi handpicked him as the state party chief.
Since then, Chandy and Chennithala factions have been united against Sudheeran's moves. All eyes are now on the party high command, who will make the final call on Friday.
Chandy met senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mukul Wasnik, the general secretary in charge of the pary's affairs in Kerala, and conveyed his displeasure against Sudheeran.
At the screening committee meeting on Tuesday, the Congress cleared at least 50 names for the 82 seats it is contesting in the Kerala assembly elections.
Polls for the 140-member Kerala assembly will be held on May 16.