Asaf Ali rejects Congress’ Kannur offer on personal grounds

The ball is now back in state president K Sudhakaran’s court; pressure mounting on nat’l gen secy Venugopal to contest from Alappuzha
Asaf Ali.
Asaf Ali.(File Photo)

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the CPM leadership has already finalised its initial candidate list for the upcoming general poll, the Congress continues to fiddle with it. Various factors are delaying a decision on two constituencies — Alappuzha and Kannur. The four-member sub-committee entrusted with finalising candidates had considered T Asaf Ali, former director general of prosecution, for Kannur. And, there’s pressure mounting on KC Venugopal, AICC general secretary (organisation), to contest from Alappuzha.

The sub-committee, comprising KPCC president K Sudhakaran, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan, UDF convenor M M Hassan and CWC leader Ramesh Chennithala, has been considering all aspects while finalising candidates.

In the case of Kannur, Sudhakaran, who’s also the sitting MP, said he would take a final call on the candidate. There were also reports that Sudhakaran himself would contest. But if he is to lead the campaign, trying to retain the seat would not be an option. It was this thought that made the party brass consider Asaf Ali. “Asaf Ali would be a good choice as he’s a former KSU and Youth Congress leader with a gift of the gab. And, he is also a regular face on TV channel debates,” a senior party leader said.

“He has always put the CPM on a defensive mode in court and outside it. Kannur is suited for a minority community leader. And, if so, Alappuzha should be given to a leader from the Ezhava community, so that the communal balance is maintained. But there is huge pressure on Venugopal to contest from Alappuzha and it will all depend on Rahul Gandhi giving him the green signal,” the senior leader added.

Asaf Ali confirmed being extended the Kannur ticket, but said he is not interested in figuring in an electoral battle, which would involve several compromises, including his flourishing legal career and family life. “I received the assurance from various party quarters. But I declined citing personal inconvenience. I would have to work hard and make lots of adjustments in my career and personal life, which I’m not ready for,” the 68-year-old told TNIE.

A New Mahe native, Asaf Ali was KSU’s Kozhikode district president and state general secretary of the Youth Congress. If he is not willing to contest, the ball would then be back in Sudhakaran’s court. It’s reliably learned that a three-prong formula is being envisaged by the Congress leadership.

Twenty20 to contest two Lok Sabha seats, announces candidates

Kochi: Twenty20 on Sunday declared its candidates for the Lok Sabha elections. The party will contest in the Chalakudy and Ernakulam seats, and has fielded advocates Antony Judy and Charlie Paul, respectively, in the seats, said party president Sabu M Jacob. Sabu, who announced the names at a party rally in Kizhakkambalam, said the LS poll will herald major changes in Kerala politics. “What have the elected MPs done for people besides installing high mast lights and attending inaugural programmes? If our candidates win, the party will show what an MP can do. We will work in a way that sets an example for the country,” said Sabu, who is also the MD of Kitex Ltd.

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