Following their meeting with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the ten-member Congress committee overseeing the election has met with each other to discuss their future strategy. Committee chairperson Oommen Chandy told media that the High Command and UDF has decided to consult the people of the state to formulate a populace-friendly manifesto.
“For the purpose, committee member Shashi Tharoor will organise a discussion at different locations with various groups of people including youngsters to learn about their issues, for the making of a truly people-friendly manifesto,” said Chandy. Another important aspect is their ‘Aishwarya Kerala Yatra’, led by Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala, which will start from Kasargod and end at Thiruvananthapuram. Sitting MPs at each constituency will handle the responsibility of the march, while Oommen Chandy will look after Kottayam, T Siddique will handle Malappuram, and KC Venugopal for Wayanad and Alappuzha.
In the state party leaders’ meeting with the High Command at Delhi, the latter had informed them that the contestant’s list should feature more youngsters, fresh faces, and women. “The personal interests of the leaders must be kept aside for the welfare of the party as the upcoming Assembly election is very crucial to the UDF. The chance of winning should be the only criteria for fixing the candidate,” said Venugopal.
Chennithala said that unofficial discussions are currently happening over the distribution of seats while new problems emerge and opportunities open up. Kerala Congress’ PJ Jospeh faction is adamant about wanting to compete in all 15 seats they competed in last time. However, this was when Jose K Mani had been a part of the group, and now the Joseph faction has no claim over party name and symbol.
Moreover, the media rumours surrounding KV Thomas and his alleged intention to leave UDF for LDF is ending. “Thomas is Congress’ senior and one of the most respected personalities. He will continue within the party,” said Oommen Chandy. While there has been a rift, Thomas met with senior Congress leaders following Sonia Gandhi’s instructions. Muslim League General Secretary KPA Majid said that discussions on seat sharing are currently ongoing and any demand for increased numbers will happen there.
Meanwhile, Chennithala has criticised the party workers for not being aware of their localities. “The performance at the lower levels is poor, and if it doesn’t get better, then we will face a tough battle ahead. Most local leaders are unaware of what is happening in their designated spots,” he added.