Thiruvananthapuram: Congress high command on Thursday approved the list of its candidates for Lok Sabha polls in Kerala retaining all but two sitting MPs including Union Ministers Shashi Tharoor and K V Thomas, giving a head start to the party in the campaign against rival LDF.
P T Thoas, at loggerheads with Catholic church in the Christian-dominated Idukki over the Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats, failed to get re-nomiantion. Youth Congress state president Dean Kuriakose has been named for the seat.
Another sitting MP missing this time is N Peethambara Kurup as the Kollam seat he had won has been allocated to RSP which quit LDF and joined UDF last week.
Senior leader P C Chacko has been shifted to Chalakkudi from Thrissur. In a swap, K P Dhanapalan, who had won from Chalakkdi in 2009, has been moved to Thrissur.
After final round of discussions with AICC functionaries, KPCC president V M Sudheeran said in Delhi that the list had been approved and the announcement would be made by AICC latest by tomorrow.
Tharoor would be seeking a second term from prestigious Thiruvananthapuram seat while Thomas is back in his home turf Ernakulam.
Other Union Ministers to be back in their constituencies are Mullapally Ramachandran (Vatakara), K C Venugopal (Alappuzha) and Kodikunnil Suresh (Mavelikkara).
Sudheeran, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala had held discussions with AICC office bearers in charge of the state.
Congress this time is contesting 15 of the 20 seats. Last
time, Congress had contested 17 of the 20 seats and won 13 while its partners IUML emerged victorious in two and Kerala Congress (M) one.
This time round, Congress gave Kollam seat from its kitty to RSP and Palakkad, where the party had unsuccessfully contested last time, to SJD. Former Union Minister M P Veerendrakumar is SJD nominee in Palakkad.
The new faces in Congress list include state Mahila Congress president Bindu Krishna (Attingal), T Siddique (Kasargode) and Dean Kuriakose (Idukki).
IUML has announced Union Minister E Ahamed for Malappuram and E T Muhammad Basheer from Ponanni.
Kerala Congress(M) will be putting up Jose K Mani from his sitting seat Kottayam for a second bid.
CPI(M), the lead partner in LDF, is yet to finalise the list of candidates but CPI has announced its nominees for the four seats allocated to the party. One seat has been allocated to Januaryuaryata Dal (S) which is yet to decide on its contestant.
BJP has also announced its contestants for most of the seats, which include senior leader and former Union Minister O Rajagopal in Thiruvananthapuram.
Fledgling AAP has also drawn up a list for some seats, which includes eminent writer Sara Joseph.