Talks to finalise remaining Congress candidates for Kerala fail

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New Delhi/Thiruvananathapuram, April 2 (IANS) The Congress has cleared most of its candidates for the Kerala assembly election but the deadlock over five names continued for the sixth day on Saturday with both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and state unit president V.M.Sudheeran sticking to their positions.

Even a marathon three-hour session Saturday night held in the presence of party president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi failed to resolve the deadlock.

Talking to reporters later, Sudheeran said: “Things are progressing well and now the AICC will decide.”

Chandy however has decided to return home and while reaching Kochi early on Sunday, while Sudheeran and state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala will stay back in Delhi.

The three top leaders of the party form Kerala have been in Delhi since Monday evening to finalise the list of candidates in 82 seats and barring in around a dozen seats, the candidates list for the remaining seats have been cleared.

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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.

Babu told reporters in Kochi that he is confident of his victory if he is asked to contest.

Chandy on Saturday again repeated his position that if any of the above ministers of his cabinet have to stay out, then he should also do so and argued that he has contested every election since 1970 while facing numerous allegations.

According to sources close to Chandy, he informed the national leadership that he is prepared to step down and anyone can lead the party and he will campaign in all the 140 assembly seats.

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But to cool down things, Chennithala told reporters that reports appearing in the media on Saturday is not true and things are progressing well.

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

Meanwhile anger is mounting among the Congress workers in the state against Sudheeran for his impractical approach on issues ever since he took over from Chennithala as president in 2014.

“For eight years when Chennithala was the president, both he and Chandy worked in tandem and were able to win every election… after Sudheeran took over, there was a setback in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and also at the last year’s local bodies poll. Sudheeran is not a practical politician, while Chandy is otherwise and acts according to the situations,” said a Congress leader who did not wish to be identified.

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