Kerala leader Behanan withdraws name after tussle

Kochi, April 4 (IANS) In a game of one-upmanship in Kerala’s Congress circles, the name of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s closest aide Benny Behanan was axed from the list of assembly aspirants by the party high command, a party source here said on Monday.

Behanan is sitting legislator from Trikkakara constituency in Ernakulam district.

Sources here said party vice president Rahul Gandhi dropped Behanan’s name from a list sent from here for approval at New Delhi.

The development followed strong reservation by state Congress chief V.M. Sudheeran to five names suggested by Chief Minister Chandy. Gandhi, while allowing four names to remain on the list, directed that Behanan’s name be knocked off, the sources said.

Later, Behanan told media persons here that he had decided to withdraw his name from the upcoming assembly polls.

The final list of Congress nominees for the 140-seat Kerala assembly was likely to be released on Tuesday.

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