New Delhi, Mar 27 (UNI) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and all his cabinet colleagues, except Finance Minister Vakkom Purushothaman, are among the 71 candidates in the first list of congress candidates announced by the party for the April-May state assembly elections.
The party has given due importance to youth and new faces who constitute one third of the 71 candidates. The Congress is contesting 77 seats as a major partner of the nine-party ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) alliance.
However, only two women, Prof Savithri Lakshmanan and new face Simmy Rosebell John, figure in the list.
Speaker Therambil Ramakrishnan will seek re-election from Thrissur, while Mr Chandy will contest from his home constituency Puthupally in Kottayam district.
The second list is expected in the next few days. It is likely to have only three sitting MLAs and others new faces.
A majority of the sitting MLAs are in the fray again. However, notable among those who were dropped were former minister and Dalit leader Dr M A Kuttappan, Mr George J Mathew and Mr K K Nair, who represented the state assembly many times before.
The names of Finance Minister Vakkom Purushothaman, former Finance Minister K Sankaranarayanan, former ministers P P George and T H Mustapha and Union Overseas Minister Vayalar Ravi's wife Mercy Ravi did not figure in the list as they had opted out of contest on their own.
Kerala Students Union President P C Vishnunath (Chengannur) and Youth Congress President K P Anil Kumar (Sreekrishnapuram) are prominent among the youth, besides Supreme court lawyer P V Sreenijin (Njarakkal).
KPCC President Ramesh Chennithala told UNI that one third of the candidates in the first list are new faces.
A surprise entry in the list is Mr Rajmohan Unnithan (Tellicherry), who revolted against the Congress during the May 2004 Lok Sabha elections openly criticising veteran leader K Karunakaran for denial of tickets in the election.
His open revolt was then viewed as one of the reasons for the poor performance of the Congress-led UDF in the Lok Sabha election in which they drew blank in all the 17 constitutencies it contested.
This is for the first time in several years that the Congress has announced 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 was announced a few days before the close of nomination in all elections in the past 20 years.
The Congress, which heads the ruling coalition in Kerala, will contest the largest number 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.
A majority of the sitting MLAs are contesting again from the same seats. The list could not be finalised at a meeting of the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the party yesterday as the members of the 14-member high-powered panel felt that it lacked adequate representation to youth and women. The CEC meeting was attended by Ms Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, among others.
Accordingly, the Steering committee, consisting of Mr Chandy, Mr Chennithala, CWC member A K Antony, Mr Moily, who is in charge of party affairs in Kerala, revised the list at its last round of meeting last night.
With Mr Chandy leaving here for Thiruvananthapuram early today, Mr Chennithala met Ms Gandhi this morning and finalised the list.
Following is the list of candidates: Mr P Gangadharan Nair (Uduma), Mr A V Vamana Kurup (Trikkaripur), Mr K C Joseph (Irikkur), Mr K Surendran (Payyannur), Mr Chandran Thillankeri (Taliparamba), Mr K Sudhakaran (Kannur), Mr Rajmohan Unnithan (Tellicherry, Mr Sajeev Joseph (Kuthuparamba), Prof A D Musthafa (Peravoor), Mr Ponnarathu Balakrishnan (Badagara), Mr M Veerankutty (Nadapuram), Mr K Balakrishnan Kidavu (Balusseri), Mr A Sujanapal (Calicut-1), Mr A P Anil Kumar (Wandoor-SC), Mr Aryadan Mohammed (Nilambur).
Mr P Balan (Thrithala-SC), Mr C P Mohammed (Pattambi), Mr V C Kabeer (Ottappalam), Mr K P Anil Kumar (Sreekrishnapuram), Mr Satheesan Pacheni (Malampuzha), Mr A V Gopinath (Palakkad), Mr K Achuthan (Chittur), Mr K A Chandran (Kollengode), Mr C Prakash (Coyalmannam-SC), Mr P C Manikandan (Chelakara-SC), Mr Therambil Ramakrishnan (Trichur), Prof Savithri Lakshmanan (Chalakudy), Mr T U Radhakrishnan (Mala), Mr M K Paulson (Manalur), Mr T N Prathapan (Nattika), Mr P J Joy (Angamali), Mr V D Satheesan (Parur), Mr P V Sreenijin (Njarakkal-SC), Mr Dominic Presentation (Palluruthy), Mr K Babu (Tripunithura), Mr K Mohammed Ali (Alwaye), Mr P T Thomas (Thodupuzha), Mr A K Moni (Devicolam -SC), Mr E M Augusthy (Peermade), Mr Joseph Vazhacken (Kanjirapalli), Mr Ajay Tharayil (Kottayam), Mr Oommen Chandy (Puthupally).
Mr V P Sajeendran (Vaikom-SC), Mr C K Shaji Mohan (Shertalai), Mrs Simi Rosebell John (Mararikulam), Mr K C Venugopal (Alleppey), Mr Babu Prasad (Harippad), Mr C R Jayaprakash (Kayamkulam), Mr P C Vishnunath (Chengannur), Mr M Murali(Mavelikkara), Mr Philipose Thomas (Ranni), Mr K Sivadasan Nair( Pathanamthitta), Mr Adoor Prakash (Konni), Mr Prayar Gopalakrishnan (Chadayamangalam), Mr Ezhukon Narayanan (Neduvathur-SC), Mr Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan (Adoor), Mr P Ramabhadran (Kunnathur-SC), Mr Kadavoor Sivadasan (Kundara), Mr G Prathapavarma Thampan (Chathanoor), Mr Varkala Kahar (Varkala), Mr C Mohanachandran (Attingal), Mr G Karthikeyan (Aryanad), Mr Palode Ravi (Nedumangad), Mr M A Wahid (Kazhakuttam), Mr K Mohan Kumar (Trivandrum north), Mr B Vijayakumar (Trivandrum East), Mr N Sakhthan (Nemom), Mr George Mercier (Kovalam), Mr Thampanoor Ravi (Neyyattinkara) and Mr N Sundaran Nadar (Parassala).