KPCC chief Chennithala likely to contest polls

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 12:22

Thiruvananthapuram: In an important development
for the UDF in Kerala, KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala is
expected to contest the Assembly polls, setting aside the
normal practice of state unit heads keeping off the electoral
fray for organisational reasons.

The party high command has given nod to Chennithala to enter
the fray if he prefers to do so, according to sources close to
Chennithala.

The move to is seen by observers as part of a strategy to
placate the majority sentiments by offsetting the impression
of prominence of the minority communities in the UDF,
especially in communally sensitive central and south Kerala.

The Congress`s calculations of striking a communal balancing
in selection of UDF candidates has been upset to a certain
extent by the demand of the Christian-dominated Kerala
Congress (Mani) for more seats this time.

A long-time ally of the Congress in Kerala, KC(M) has based
its claim on the ground that its support base has strengthened
with the Kerala Congress (Joseph) faction merging with it and
quitting the LDF.

The KC factions were said to have merged with the blessings
of a powerful section in the church establishment, which had
openly resented the policies of the LDF, especially in the
education sector.

The Kerala Congress (M), which has been pressing for 22
seats this time against 11 it received in 2006, would be
getting most of its segments in the Central Travancore
districts of Kottayam, Pathanamthitta and Idukki.

The Congress would also have to field some of its prominent
Christian faces in the area.

Calculations of the party strategists is that fielding a
heavyweight candidate like Chennithala would balance the
communal equations and placate community outfits like Nair
Service Society (NSS). Chennithala, who belongs to Nair
community, has always maintained good equations with the NSS
leadership.

According to sources, the entry of Chennithala is unlikely
to upset the chances of senior leader Oommen Chandy, who is
widely seen as the front runner for the chief minister`s
post.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 - 12:22

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