Congress high command emissaries Malikarjuna Kharge and former Puducherry Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam on Tuesday will have a one-on-one interaction with the 21 Congress legislators to decide who should become the Leader of the Opposition in the Kerala Assembly.

The Congress led UDF was routed in the April 6 assembly polls when the ruling Left under Pinarayi Vijayan won by winning 99 seats in the 140-member assembly, with the UDF ending up with a tally of just 41.

Over the years the Congress party has been divided between veteran Oommen Chandy and the other led by incumbent Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and of late there has been a new faction led by AICC general secretary K.C. Venugopal.

Among the front runners for the post include incumbent Ramesh Chennithala, V.D. Sateeshan both representing the ‘I’ faction while the Chandy faction hopefuls include Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and their former member P.T. Thomas.

Youth Congress president Shafi Parambil, who was given a tough fight by Metroman E. Sreedharan is also in the reckoning and is understood to be the nominee of the high command, as they are wanting a generation change in the grand old party in Kerala.

Chennithala who was all set to become the Chief Minister got a shock of his lifetime when the Congress led UDF was routed badly.

A source in the know of things said that whosoever goes on to become the leader of opposition, he will have to have the backing of two-time former Chief Minister Chandy.

“With his failing health, Chandy has backed out and hence the field is open for those in the running. Here again those in the Chandy faction is divided if they need to raise their hands for Chennithala, while another faction wants a new opposition leader and also a new party president,” said the source in the know of things.

Meanwhile the emissaries after meeting all the legislators and also the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members will give their report to the party high command and the announcement will be made from Delhi, in a day or two.

It remains to be seen, if the name will be finally cleared before Thursday, when Vijayan and his 20 member cabinet will be sworn in here at 3,30 pm.

–IANS

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