Kottayam: The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is likely to offer former parliamentarian PC Thomas the Kottayam seat in the Lok Sabha election.
The BJP leadership has not announced that the Thomas will contest from the seat, though the Kerala Congress leader had been a front-runner from the beginning.
The BJP central leadership’s suggestion to allocate the seat to its ally came in the party's 'baitak' held Wednesday.
Kottayam is the sitting seat of Kerala Congress (Mani) group, but Jose K Mani's resignation, after being elected to the Rajya Sabha, has sowed confusion in the UDF about its candidate.
A section within the Congress and the UDF would like to have AICC general secretary Oommen Chandy as the candidate.
The former chief minister, whose Puthupally Assembly constituency falls within the Kottayam Lok Sabha seat, though, is reluctant to contest.
An idea being floated in the UDF is that since the KC (M) has been granted an RS seat, the Congress should claim the Kottayam LS seat.
But Oommen Chandy himself has come on record saying Kottayam is the sitting seat of the KC(M).
The BJP wants to take advantage of this situation by making Thomas contest in the constituency.
The BJP is hinging on Thomas' image as the son of Kerala Congress founder PT Chacko and his clout in the region to win the seat. Thomas, too, is interested in the idea.
Thomas was the first NDA candidate to have won a Lok Sabha seat in Kerala. He was elected from the erstwhile Muvattupuzha constituency in 2004. He was later disqualified for wooing voters on religious grounds.
Another NDA ally, the Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), too was in the fray for the seat.
The BJP’s state and district leaderships have withdrawn claims for the seat after the central leadership’s suggestion.
However, a final call will be made only after the LDF declares its candidate.
Janata Dal (S) contested the Kottayam seat for the LDF in 2014.
If the LDF chooses a CPM candidate for the seat, the NDA might select someone from the BJP itself.
Noble Mathew, who was the NDA candidate in 2014, has joined the BJP. The party’s district leadership wants a BJP candidate since it was in Kottayam that majority of cases against Sabarimala protesters were registered.
The BDJS was considered because of the votes it won in Vaikom and Ettumanoor Assembly constituencies in 2016.
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