KOTTAYAM/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C Kappan is contesting as the LDF candidate for Pala by-elections. NCP state president Thomas Chandy announced his candidature after the party-state executive meet in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday.
Announcing the candidate two-days after the by-election was declared by the Election Commission, the LDF has taken a slight edge in the initial round of electioneering.
He is slated to submit his nomination papers on Saturday between 10 am and 11 am. Formal electioneering commences with the LDF convention in Pala on September 4, which is to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Meanwhile, the UDF, which is in trouble owing to infighting in the Kerala Congress (M), is yet to finalise its candidate. With the PJ Joseph faction demanding a candidate who is acceptable to all, the Jose K Mani faction is expecting to ‘settle’ Joseph with the help of the UDF leadership.
In the meantime, UDF district committee held a meeting in Kottayam on Wednesday to discuss election-related works. Speaking after the meeting, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA, said there were no disputes in the UDF over its candidate in Pala. “We are delayed with regard to finalising the candidate. We have time up to September 4 and the UDF state committee will announce our candidate before that,” he said.
At the same time, discussions are progressing in the NDA with regard to their candidate. Speaking after a meeting in Pala, BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the NDA candidate would be finalised after consultation with coalition partners. “Pala is a constituency where the BJP can make significant advancement. BJP district committee has shown interest in contesting the election. However, a decision is to be taken only after consulting our coalition partners,” he said. A meeting of the NDA is to be held on Friday to finalise the candidate.
Mani C Kappan
Kappan had contested unsuccessfully against late KM Mani in the three previous Assembly elections and had narrowed the margin of victory of the veteran leader. Since 2006, Kappan has been representing the LDF in Pala. He is a national high power committee member of the NCP and was also its state treasurer thrice.
Kappan is a national-level volleyball player who had played for the country with the likes of Jimmy George, Abdul Basith and Blessen George. He is presently the NCP’s National working Committee member. He was the national vice-chairman of Coconut Development Board and a member of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. From 2000 to 2005, he was a municipal councillor in Pala.
The 63-year-old leader is the son of late Cherian J Kappan, who was a former Member of Parliament and Pala Municipal Chairman. His mother is the late Thressiama. Kappan is married to Alice of Palathingal family, Changanassery. He has one son, Cherian Mani Kappan, and two daughters, Teena and Deepa.