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CEC to finalise Kerala Congress list tomorrow

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 25 (UNI) The list of Congress candidates for Kerala will be finalised at a meeting of the party's Central Election Committee (CEC) here tomorrow evening.

The 14-member CEC, which includes Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and CWC member A K Antony, will meet at 1730 hrs tomorrow.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and PCC Chief Ramesh Chennithala arrived here tonight from Thiruvananthapuram along with a list.

Mr Antony was already in the capital city.

The five-member Screening Committee for Kerala, which has CWC members C K Jaffer Sherief and Veerappa Moily (Kerala charge of party affairs)and Narayanaswamy, besides Mr Chandy and Mr Chennithala, will meet tonight or tomorrow before handing over their list for the consideration of the CEC.

The CEC will give final touches to the list of candidates for 77 seats in which the Congress will put up its candidates to the April-May election to the 140-member Kerala assembly.

Mr Chandy and Mr Chennithala will also discuss with Congress President Sonia Gandhi the emerging political situation in the state in the context of the agreement reached yesterday with the breakaway Democratic Indira Congresss (DIC) led by veteran leader K Karunakaran for poll tie up and its merger with the Congress post-poll.

The list of candidates will be announced Monday morning by the AICC, sources said here tonight.

A majority of the sitting members of the outgoing Kerala Assembly are expected to be given tickets again.

This is for the first time in several years that the Congress is to announce its list of candidates well in advance.

Due to intense groupism within the Kerala unit of the Congress till a year ago, the list of candidates were more often announced a few days before the close of nomination in all previous elections during the past 20 years.

The Congress, which heads the ruling coalition in Kerala, will contest the highest of 77 seats, followed by other United Democratic Front constituents such as IUML -22, DIC (K)-18, Kerala Congress(Mani)- 11, Janathipathya Samrakshana Samiti- five, Kerala Congress(B)- two, Communist Marxist Party- three, Revolutionary Socialist Party (Shibu faction)- one and RSP (Babu Divakaran faction)- one.

UNI SH SC KN2212

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