THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress’ political affairs committee (PAC) is set to initiate official talks on the party candidate for the Thrikkakara byelection on Monday. Since P T Thomas’ widow Uma has not yet opened her mind before the Congress leadership, a slew of local leaders have evinced keen interest in the byelection candidature.
The Congress leadership is anticipating the Central Election Commission to issue the byelection notification for Thrikkakara any time. While the constituency has equal representation for all the Christian denominations, like the Orthodox, Jacobite, Syrian Catholic and the Latin Catholic, the Muslim community too has a strong presence. Thrikkakara is considered as a stronghold of the ‘A’ group, led by Oommen Chandy.
Last week, key figures in the Congress state leadership -- including national general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal -- had made a courtesy call to Uma Thomas. It is reliably learnt that Uma, a KSU leader during her time at the Maharaja’s College in Ernakulam, had not evinced any interest in entering politics.
If not her, then the ticket is expected to go in favour of either Congress state executive committee member Jaison Joseph or former Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany. The 57-year-old Jaison was in the fray in the recent Rajya Sabha election. The other Congress leaders in the race for the ticket include Ernakulam district president Mohammed Shiyaz and state general secretary Deepthi Mary Varghese, who has the blessings of Opposition Leader V D Satheesan and K C Venugopal.
Former Thrikkakara MLA Benny Behanan told TNIE that since the constituency is a Congress stronghold, the onus is on the party to field a formidable candidate given that the LDF ministers will be camping there to give a tough fight.
“The party is yet to kick off official-level talks on the Thrikkakara candidate. At the PAC meeting, there will be preliminary talks on the probable list of candidates,” said Behanan, who is now the Chalakudy MP.
Senior leader K V Thomas’ role too is going to be crucial. He feels that only a Christian leader can create ripples in Thrikkakara.