Congress in Kerala finalising candidates

March 7th, 2009 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, March 7 (IANS) The Congress in Kerala is in the process of finalising candidates for the Lok Sabha elections, state party chief Ramesh Chennithala said Saturday.
A nine-member team led by party general secretary Mohsina Kidwai is busy shortlisting the candidates.

Chennithala said the “winnability factor” would be the basis for choosing candidates.

“This time it would be a mix of youth and experience. A list will be formed and sent to the party central screening committee, which would pass it on to (party president) Sonia Gandhi,” he said. The process would end by March 15.

“If there is a judicious distribution of seats this time, we will sweep the elections. But if they do the same mistake of fielding old faces, it is going to be tough,” said a Congress leader.

Kerala has 20 Lok Saba seats, of which the Congress - the major partner in the United Democratic Front - has been contesting 17 seats for long. In 2004, the Congress failed to win even a single seat.

In the list of contenders are Ramesh Chennithala, Mullapaly Ramachandran, A.C. Jose, V.M. Sudheeran and Kodikunil Suresh. There are also V.S. Sivakumar, V.S. Vijayaraghavan, P.C. Chacko, M.I. Shahnawaz, Benny Behanan and Anto Antony.

P.J. Kurian is not in the race this time as he is in the Rajya Sabha. Former UN under secretary general Shashi Tharoor is a strong contender.

With veteran politician K. Karunakaran not the same force he was in the past, it would be leaders like A.K. Antony, Vayalar Ravi, Oommen Chandy and Chennithala who would call the shots.

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