Alappuzha: As the stage is all set for the by-election to the Chengannur assembly constituency, the Congress has opened a serious discussion to identify a suitable candidate. A final decision on the UDF nominee is expected to be made on Thursday.
The CPM has already announced its candidate - party district secretary Saji Cherian - while the BJP has confirmed that it would once again field former state president and member of the national executive council P S Sreedharan Pillai, forcing the Congress to adopt an extra cautious approach in the candidate’s selection.
Besides taking into account popularity among local people and caste and religious arithmetic, the party senior leaders explored the possibility of fielding a new face at a meeting held here on Wednesday.
The names of front-runners for the seat including party leader D Vijayakumar's daughter Jyothi Vijayakumar and KSU state president K M Abhijith figured prominently in discussions. Former MLA M Murali, Eby Kuriakose and Sunil P Oommen also came up as possible names.
A section of the leaders adopted a firm stance that the candidate’s selection should be based on the existing political scenario. Citing K S Sabarinathan’s victory in the Aruvikkara by-poll in 2015 as an example, some others favoured the option of fielding a new face.
After the KPCC meeting, Oommen Chandy held talks with some of the party leaders. His stance would be decisive since Chengannur is ‘A’ faction’s seat as per the apportionment arrangement within the party. It is likely that the name proposed by KPCC president M M Hassan, Oommen Chandy, and Ramesh Chennithala would be approved by the AICC.
With both CPM and BJP finalising their candidates, community factors would also be discussed at length at Congress’s meetings. Among the probable candidates, apart from Abjijith, all the others are local residents. Jyothi Vijayakumar, who was KSU's union chairman at Mar Ivanios College, Thiruvananthapuram, is a known face among party cadres as the one who translates the speeches of party’s national leaders during their visits to the state.