Despite a final list, Congress in Kerala faces backlash over snubbed names and female candidates
While the candidate list was getting delayed, the Congress leaders in Kerala clarified that all problems would be solved when the list would be revealed. However, the list has created more trouble for the party than it seems. In Irikkur in Kannur, the Congress A group has said that they cannot accept Sajeev Joseph’s candidature, Mahila Congress president Lathika Subhash resigned and might contest as an independent candidate, and KPCC secretary Ramani P Nair alleged that she was denied a seat because of Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala.
KPCC general secretary Sony Sebastian had resigned his post, alleging that Sajeev has been engaged in divisional work. Before the list was announced, the A group organised protests across the constituency, shouting slogans such as “We don’t want Sajeev Joseph” and banners against him. They even clashed with I group workers over the matter, turning into a severe internal clash. Despite the situation, the announcement of Sajeev’s candidature has created problems down the hierarchy, and over 40 members had resigned.
However, Sajeev Joseph said that the allegations against him are intended to demean him. “I will, however, bring together all the resigned members together. I would also meet with my colleague Sony Sebastian and we would work together,” he told a news agency. On the other hand, Sony was considered for the post during the deliberations and he added that the A group had called meetings in all three possible seats in Kannur. Moreover, they believe that the internal class over Irikkur will spread to Kannur and Peravoor seats, and the A group plans to keep away from campaigning for Sajeev Joseph.
In the case of Lathika Subhash, she had protested in front of Indira Bhavan yesterday, by tonsuring her head. She had said that she shaved half of her head against the Congress not giving due representation to female candidates and the other half against the Pinarayi-Modi governments’ anti-women policies. She resigned from the party and added that no offer could bring her back. Lathika was hoping for the Ettumanoor seat, which is her home base, but would have settled for Vaikom. However, her hopes were lost after the announcement, leading to an emotional protest. She opines that hundreds of her supporters will follow her if she chose to stand in the election and the latest report indicate that she might stand as an independent candidate in Ettumanoor.
Moreover, Ramani P Nair has also gone against the party, claiming that she is not going to back out of her resignation and that members from ward level to state-level would support her. She added that she is resigning following the leadership snubbing her out of the Vamanapuram seat. She also alleged that Ramesh Chennithala had a part in cutting her out of the final list. On the other hand, Ramesh said that protesting because one didn’t get a seat isn’t right, “not everyone will get a seat”, he added.
Speaking to a news channel, he said, “We avoided group fights to discuss names for the final list and I am sure that we were able to form a list that agreed with Rahul Gandhi.” He added that the party would probe the low female candidate ratio, but said that Lathika’s protest in front of Indira Bhavan wasn’t right. He clarified that the party had assigned Bindu Krishna and Shanimol Usman to bring Lathika back to the fold, adding that the latter’s demand for Ettumanoor had been the problem. “The whole issue would subside within two days, and the UDF workers would unite to bring down the LDF government,” he told the agency.