THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Refusing to take lessons from its successive poll debacles, the Congress high command seems to be inclined to go ahead with the same old script of imposing its nominee over the choice of the state unit in the Rajya Sabha elections in Kerala. However for a change, the party’s state leadership refused to budge and asserted that its proposal should be given preference.
State Congress president K Sudhakaran not only conveyed to the high command that its nominee Sreenivasan Krishnan was not acceptable to the state leadership which prefered young leader M Liju. Sudhakaran didn’t stop there. He accompanied Liju to meet Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday in an attempt to convince the central leadership on the importance of the issue.
Liju is a member of the Congress political affairs committee and former Alappuzha district president. As per the numbers in the state assembly, Congress can win one of the three seats to which elections will be held, and the final decision on candidate will be taken by the high command within two days.
TNIE reported on Tuesday about how 58-year-old Thrissur native and national Congress secretary in charge of Telangana, Sreenivasan, had emerged as a strong contender for the seat.
Support of state leaders key to Liju’s Rajya Sabha poll chances
In subsequent assembly poll too, he made an attempt for a seat. But he did not succeed on both occasions. He is learnt to be close to Robert Vadra, husband of Priyanka Gandhi. “All these have been rumours as my association with Robert Vadra had lasted only for a few days sometime back. I am a full time Congress party worker and for the last four years, 15 days in a month, I have been working from Telangana.
The Congress is looking for a leader who is articulate as Rajya Sabha member,” said Sreenivasan. Chances of 43-year old Liju will brighten only if leaders from Kerala rally behind him in one voice. But his does not seem to be case. Senior Congress MP K Muraleedharan has written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi that those who had been unsuccessful in assembly elections should not be considered for the Rajya Sabha ticket.
Liju had unsuccessfully contested from Ambalapuzha (2011 & 2021) and Kayamkulam (2016) assembly constituencies. “I am not against Liju. But a criterion should be taken by the leadership that unsuccessful candidates in assembly elections should not be considered in the Upper House of Parliament,” Muraleedharan told TNIE.
There is widespread dissent among state leaders over the move to make Sreenivasan the candidate. It is learnt that if there is a dispute, the final world will be that of AK Antony who is vacating the seat. This is not the first time he has evinced keen interest in electoral politics. During 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Sreenivasan lobbied for Chalakudy constituency.
A A Rahim CPM’s candidate
CPM will field state committee member and DYFI national president A A Rahim as its candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.