NEW DELHI: The week-long candidate-screening saga for Kerala elections came to an end with the Congress high command opting for Oommen Chandy’s pragmatism over KPCC president V M Sudheeran’s idealism. The list is expected to be released on Monday.
The central leadership is learnt to have conceded all the demands made by Oommen Chandy. Now all “tainted’’ MLAs will contest the upcoming polls on the Congress symbol. This happened despite Sudheeran having the silent backing of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and senior leader from Kerala A K Antony.
‘’Sudheeran’s arguments just fizzled out before Chandy’s shrewd political moves,’’ a source with the central leadership told Express.
He had been insisting that ‘’tainted’’ MLAs - K C Joseph, Adoor Prakash, K Babu, Dominic Presentation and Benny Behanan should not be included in the list. Later he climbed down, saying that at least two ministers should stay away from polls. But Chandy refused to budge. With the chief minister threatening to opt out saying my way or the highway, the high command had no option but to yield.
According to sources, Sonia Gandhi apparently told Rahul that she wanted the party intact in Kerala at all costs. “Now that the central leadership has trusted Oommen Chandy completely, it is his responsibility to see to it that the party surges ahead,’’ said a leader. “Rahul felt that denying ticket to the tainted MLAs would set a good precedent and help the party in the long run. But Sonia insisted that victory at all costs is more important at this juncture and he fell in line,’’ said the source.