Thiruvalla (Kerala), April 15 (IANS) A major row appears to be brewing in Thiruvalla with Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.J. Kurien up in arms against the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate, Joseph M. Puthuserry, for the Kerala assembly seat and wants him changed.
Thiruvalla, located 120 km from the capital city, is the seat contested by the Kerala Congress (Mani), the third biggest ally of the UDF. It is also the home turf of Kurien, who for many decades has been the undisputed leader of the place.
The Thiruvalla assembly seat for the past two terms has been held by Mathew T. Thomas of the Left opposition – Janata Dal (S). In the two previous polls, Thomas defeated Victor T. Thomas of the Kerala Congress (Mani).
This time K.M. Mani, the supreme leader of the Kerala Congress (Mani) party, asked Puthuserry to contest. This angered Kurien because Puthuserry, a three-time legislator, after being denied a seat in the 2011 assembly polls had decided to keep away from the campaign for the Thiruvalla seat.
Puthuserry had kept away from the 2011 assembly campaign despite numerous requests from Kurien. What upset Kurien most was Puthuserry did not even turn up when then defence minister A.K. Antony held a road show in Thiruvalla for the UDF.
“I have made my stand clear to all, and as a voter in this constituency I have expressed my stand about the candidature, which is my right in a democracy. I don’t think any solution has come up,” said a peeved Kurien to reporters.
Speaking to IANS Puthuserry said he wished things get sorted out quickly.
Senior UDF leader Varghese George of the Janata Dal (U) told the media that on Thursday he had conveyed about the impasse to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran.
“Due to this standoff, we are still unable to take forward our campaign with more vigour. We are all waiting to see that this issue is resolved at the earliest,” said George, who hails from Thiruvalla.
Thiruvalla constituency, which has a sizeable Christian community, comprises of the Orthodox church and the Mar Thoma church is headquartered here. While Puthuserry belongs to the Orthodox church, Thomas his opponent is a Marthomaite and so is Kurien.
Kerala will hold polls on May 16 for its 140 assembly seats.