Congress candidate selection tiff a bluff: Achuthanandan

Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Veteran CPI-M leader V.S.Achuthanandan on Friday dismissed as a “bluff” the ongoing tiff between Kerala’s top Congress leaders who are staying put in Delhi to finalise candidates.

“What’s happening in Delhi is just a stage-managed event of the state Congress top leadership and meant to fool the people to show that there are some leaders in Congress who fight against corruption,” he said in a statement issued in the state capital.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and state Congress chief V.M. Sudheeran have been in Delhi since Monday evening to finalise the list of candidates in 82 seats.

While they have been able to finalise the candidates in most seats, Sudheeran is strongly opposing in renominating Excise Minister K. Babu, who is facing allegations in the bar scam, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, who is embroiled in a row over land transfer, Culture Minister K.C. Joseph who has been a legislator since 1982, Benny Behanan for allegedly having links with solar panel scam accused, and five-time legislator and former minister Dominic Presentation.

Despite several rounds of talks amongst themselves, with party chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi, both Sudheeran and Chandy, who is not willing to drop any, are determined to have their way, thus leading to this delay.

A source close to Chandy told IANS that the central election committee under Sonia Gandhi met on Friday, and left to her the final decision on those seats where there is a dispute.

Chennithala meanwhile said that consensus has been reached on most seats and the rest will also be decided very soon, while Sudheeran said things are progressing in the right direction.

Polls for the 140-member Kerala assembly will be held on May 16.

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