ALAPPUZHA: Sitting Alappuzha MP K C Venugopal’s declaration on Sunday that he won’t contest in the Lok Sabha elections has left the Congress scrambling to find a suitable candidate for retaining the seat.
Till Saturday, Venugopal’s candidature was a done deal for the Congress as his chances of winning were high. DCC president M Liju had told ‘Express’ the party did not think about looking for anyone else for the Alappuzha and Mavelikkara seats as the sitting MPs were its best bet.
However, Venugopal announced he won’t contest from Alappuzha, citing the organisational responsibility entrusted to him by the Congress high command. At present, the MP holds the AICC’s general secretary post and is responsible for fixing candidates in all states with special charge of Karnataka.
“Contesting from the constituency after sitting in Delhi is an injustice to voters. Hence, I will not contest in the election,” Venugopal had said.
Though the Congress state leadership approached former KPCC president and four-time representative from Alappuzha V M Sudheeran, he denied to contest in the election. Now, the name of former AICC secretary Shanimol Usman, who hails from the constituency, is being suggested. The name of Adoor Prakash is also doing the rounds for the seat, but the Congress is sceptical of his candidature.
The development in the Congress comes at a time when the LDF has already announced Aroor MLA A M Ariff as the CPM nominee for the Alappuzha seat. The latter has even kickstarted his campaign. “Ariff is a representative from the Muslim community. Shanimol’s candidature will benefit UDF in Alappuzha as the community has a dominant vote share there,” said a UDF leader. Though the NDA is yet to declare its candidate, BJP brass said party will field candidate from Alappuzha.
‘Goat is facing elephant in Alappuzha’
SNDP chief Vellappally Natesan said LDF’s A M Ariff will surely win in Alappuzha. “Congress facing Ariff is akin to goat versus elephant. I will go to Kasi and tonsure my head if Ariff loses.”