Congress’ Kerala unit asks Sonia to name Rajya Sabha candidate

January 30th, 2009 - 4:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiThiruvananthapuram, Jan 30 (IANS) The Congress’ Kerala unit has changed its earlier decision to select their Rajya Sabha nominee from the state in a meeting of the top leaders Friday and instead asked party chief Sonia Gandhi to name the candidate. Addressing reporters here, state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that the meeting decided to ask Sonia Gandhi to name the candidate.

“Normally since the nomination is for the Rajya Sabha, the convention is for our national president to announce it. There is no confusion with regard to this and we are following the customary policy of the party high command of naming the candidate and it will happen soon,” he said.

However, senior Congress leader and United Democratic Front (UDF) convenor P.P. Thankachen told reporters here Thursday that the name of the candidate will be announced after a meeting of the top state leaders.

The Rajya Sabha tenures of Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, senior Congress leader Thennala Balakrishnan and Communist Party of India-Marxist leader K. Chandran Pillai end next month.

The ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) has 98 members while the United Democratic Front (UDF) has 42 in the 140-member state legislative assembly - the electoral college for the Rajya Sabha.

It is expected that the LDF will win two seats while the UDF will win one.

The names of state chief of the Congress Ramesh Chennithala, Vayalar Ravi and 90-year-old K. Karunakaran are doing the rounds for the lone seat the Congress, the dominant party in the UDF, can win from the state.

Meanwhile the state secretariat of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) held its meeting here to decide on the two candidates and party sources indicate that the CPI-M is likely to contest both seats.

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