Thiruvananthapuram: Congress, Communist Party of India (Maxist) and Bharatiya Janata Party appear to be struggling to find suitable candidates for the Vattiyoorkavu Assembly byelection with some big names pulling out of the race on Sunday.
BJP suffered a major jolt when party's former state president Kummanam Rajashekharan said he would not contest the bypoll from Vattiyoorkavu. His statement came after BJP's Thiruvananthapuram district committee requested him to enter the fray. “I don't have any intention to contest,” he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday. A few days ago, Kummanam had said he would follow party's directive. As many as 27 out of the 28 members in district committee supported Kummanam's candidacy.
CPM leader M Vijayakumar, rumoured to be LDF's candidate, also rejected the possibility of his candidature. The CPM will announce its chosen person after the party's state secretariat meeting on Tuesday and district secretariat meeting on Wednesday. CPM is planning to field senior party leaders V Sivankutty, KS Sunilkumar, Thiruvananthapuram Mayor VK Prasanth and Kannan Gopinathan, who recently quit IAS.
It appears that Congress has also been struggling to find a suitable person with K Muraleedharan, who won Vattiyoorkavu two times earlier, denouncing his sister Padmaja Venugopal's candidacy. “If the Congress fields Padmaja, it will trigger allegations of nepotism,” he said.
Later, Padmaja said she has never mulled contesting from Vattiyoorkavu. “Bu I do not buy Muraleedharan's argument,” she said.
A strong triangular fight is expected at Vattiyoorkavu. In the 2016 Assembly election, Congress' Muraleedharan defeated Kummanam by 7,622 votes.
Apart from Vattiyoorkavu, byelections will be held in Konni, Aroor, Ernakulam and Manjeswaram on October 21.
Legislators representing Vattiyoorkavu, Aroor, Ernakulam and Konni resigned after winning the Lok Sabha election in May. The Manjeswaram assembly seat fell vacant after MLA PB Abdul Razak died in October 2018.
The byelections will take place alongside the assembly elections in Maharashtra and Gujarat.