KOCHI: With old guards, including Oommen Chandy and Mullappally Ramachandran reluctant to enter the fray in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, there is increasing talks within the Congress that many youngsters will find a place in the final candidate list for Kerala.
AICC president Rahul Gandhi, during his visit to Kochi in January, had promised youngsters and women candidates will be fielded from Kerala in the Parliament elections, the Congress leaders pointed out. If winnability is considered to be the prime criterion, the second generation leaders of the party enjoy acceptability among the cadre and the public, helping them exploit the favourable political situation prevailing in the state for the UDF following the Sabarimala women’s entry issue, they said.
In Ernakulam LS constituency, where uncertainty looms over fielding once again sitting MP K V Thomas, who is in the poll fray since 1984, the majority of the workers propose the name of young legislator Hibi Eden. Hibi has garnered a huge majority in an internal survey conducted by the party.
Youth leaders pointed out the UDF can emerge victorious in Ernakulam, Alappuzha, Idukki, Chalakudy, Thrissur, Palakkad and Vadakara LS constituencies if fresh faces are introduced in the poll fray. In Chalakudy, AIPC state president Mathew Kuzhalnadan’s name is before the screening committee. “If Kuzhalnadan is fielded he could ensure the victory of the UDF,” said a party functionary. CWC member P C Chacko and UDF convener Benny Behanan are the other contenders. Kuzhalnadan, a new generation face of the party, is more impressive,”said another youth leader who requested anonymity.
In Alappuzha, where AICC general secretary K C Venugopal is keeping away from the contest citing his responsibility in the role of the leader in charge of the organisation, DCC chief M Liju and Shanimol Usman are better options. However, Shanimol has the upper hand over Liju as the Congress does not have other women leaders of her stature.
When coming to the Vadakara seat, where the CPM fielded its bigwig P Jayarajan, youth leaders suggest the name of T Siddique, the Kozhikode DCC president. “Siddique has good oratory and organisational skills. With this, he can effectively expose the killing politics of CPM in the area. Besides, he enjoys a good rapport with the IUML and thereby garner the votes of the Muslim community, which has considerable sway in the constituency,” said a leader.
The case of Shafi Parambil MLA, whose name was considered for Palakkad seat, is also not different as he also enjoys vast support among party workers.