Have been contesting from Puthupally for past 50 years: Oommen Chandy

Amid intense speculation, especially over media, that he may shift base in the coming Assembly election to checkmate the BJP in the only seat it holds in Kerala, two-time Congress Chief Minister Oommen Chandy says that he has been contesting from home turf (Puthupally in Kottayam district) for the past 50 years.

“You (media) create news and then ask for answers. I have not said anything to anyone and I do not know how you people get these information,” Chandy, who is busy in Delhi finalising the list of candidates, said with his characteristic smile and wink.

In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the BJP has just one seat – Nemom held by O.Rajagopal and for the past few days, the ruling CPI-M has been going hammer and tongs that there is a secret pact between the Congress and the BJP.

Amid this, there have been murmurs from various quarters in the Congress that the party should field a strong candidate from Nemom and since Thursday morning the names of Lok Sabha member K. Muraleedharan, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala and lastly the name of Chandy has been flashed over and over in the almost dozen TV channels in the state.

In the 2016 Assembly polls, then sitting CPI-M legislator V.Sivankutty lost to Rajagopal, while the Congress-led UDF ally candidate Surendran Pillai finished a poor third, polling less than 14,000 votes.

A senior Congress leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision to field a strong candidate at Nemom has been in the cards for a while because the CPI-M has been taunting them for allowing the BJP to grow in the state, in a tactical move to get the Muslim votes.

“The Congress party is aiming to field very strong candidates in two constituencies in the state capital, of which one is Nemom and the other is Vatiyoorkavu. This is to send the political message that what the CPI-M is propagating is baseless and just meant to see if they can get Muslim votes. So one will have to wait a day more to see,” the top Congress leader said.

While the CPI-M has decided to field Sivankutty, the BJP has decided that since Rajagopal is past 90 years, it would be most likely its former state President Kummanam Rajasekheran who would enter the fray.

And not to leave anyone guessing, the TV channels have been flashing the news, if Chandy shifts base to Puthupally which he has been winning from 1970, that seat would be given to his son Chandy Oommen.