Congress still looking for candidate to pit against Vijayan

The Congress in Kerala is still searching for a “strong” candidate to be fielded against Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who on Monday filed his nomination papers from his home turf at Dharmadom in Kannur district.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front was pinning for G. Devarajan – a top national leader of the Forward Bloc, but on Monday, the news surfaced his party has decided not to field him as the CPI-M is its ally at the national level and hence it would be inappropriate for him to take on Vijayan.

UDF convenor M.M. Hassan said the Congress will soon announce the new candidate to take on Vijayan.

Asserting that the party would field an effective candidate in Dharmadom, state Congress President Mullapally Ramachandran on Monday said no one believed him when he said they will have a very strong candidate at Nemom – the sole seat held by BJP in the state – and this is what has been done.

The Congress has fielded its Lok Sabha member K. Muraleedharan, the son of former Chief Minister K. Karunakaran from Nemom.

“Like in Nemom, we will place a very strong candidate at Dharmadom also,” Ramachandran said.

Even though the outcome at Dharmadom is a foregone conclusion, the Congress aim in fielding a strong personality is with the intention of tying down Vijayan to his constituency during the campaign period.

Vijayan won the seat with a margin of 37,905 votes in the 2016 polls.

The BJP has fielded one of its top leaders – former state President C.K. Padmanabhan against Vijayan.