Puthuppally and Nemom: Twin seats for Congress' Oommen Chandy?

Amid conflicting reports, former CM Oommen Chandy said here on Saturday that he is most likely to contest from his sitting seat, Puthuppally.
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. (File Photo)
Former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. (File Photo)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid conflicting reports, former CM Oommen Chandy said here on Saturday that he is most likely to contest from his sitting seat, Puthuppally. But the senior leader could also be contesting from Nemom in a case of ‘dual candidature’, a decision which has been left to the Congress’ national leadership.

The party’s central election committee (CEC) is scheduled to announce the candidate list in 91 seats on Sunday.

After Chandy’s supporters created emotional scenes on his arrival at Puthuppally on Saturday, the 77-year-old promised not to ditch them.

A majority of them were not convinced as he has been wavering on his ‘dual candidature’, confusing political circles. It is learnt there is huge pressure on the 11-time Puthuppally MLA to contest from Nemom too.

While the Chandy camp feels it is highly unwarranted of the state leadership to field him from Nemom, a section of leaders feels otherwise.

They vouch that his candidature in Nemom will only keep the party in good stead. 

Chandy camp hopes to create a Rahul-like wave

A section of congress workers feels that a trend in favour of his candidature from one of the ‘A plus’ seats in Thiruvananthapuram will reflect across the state akin to the “Rahul Gandhi wave” witnessed in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. 

Contrary to his practice of returning to ‘Puthuppally House’ at Poojapura here on a Sunday evening, this time, he reached a day earlier. 

“The news on my candidature in Nemom is mere speculation. I will contest only from Puthuppally. There will be clarity by Sunday. Formidable candidates will be fielded in all 91 seats, including Nemom,” Chandy said.

The state Congress is upbeat about the UDF returning to power, and thereby making it easy to face a byelection when the need to step down from one of the seats arises.

The focus now is on ensuring Chandy’s victory from Puthuppally and Nemom. One thing, however, appears certain: Chandy will not ditch the voters of Puthuppally.

Meanwhile, state Congress president Mullappally Ramachandran -- camping in Delhi to finalise the candidature -- was huddled with screening committee chairman H K Patil, organising general secretary K C Venugopal and general secretary-in-charge of the state Tariq Anwar.

So far, Mullappally has not succeeded in ending disputes over seats. Confusion continues to prevail in eight seats with more than one leader’s name being discussed in some.

Muraleedharan, who has expressed interest in Nemom, was reportedly summoned by the national leadership to Delhi.

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The New Indian Express