Kerala by-election: Congress unit clears name of P.T. Thomas' widow
Thiruvananthapuram, May 3 (IANS) The Congress' Kerala unit on Tuesday did not have to think twice to clear the name of Uma Thomas, the widow of Congress legislator P.T. Thomas who passed away in December, as the candidate to contest the Thrikkakara Assembly by-election to be held on May 31.
Though her name has not been announced officially, state Congress chief K. Sudhakaran, after the top brass' meeting at the state party headquarters, said they have done their job and have sent the name to the the party high command.
Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan said the by-election is going to be a referendum of the first anniversary of the second Pinarayi Vijayan government.
"Issues like K-Rail and such things and the manner in which Vijayan has been running the governance of the state will be put to test," he said
The bypoll was necessitated after 71-year-old Thomas passed away on December 22.
Thrikkakara constituency was carved out of the erstwhile Tripunithura Assembly constituency and the first Assembly poll was held in 2011. Since then the constituency has always been a traditional Congress bastion.
In the 140-member Kerala Assembly, the Left has 99 members. Local legislator P. Rajeev, from Ernakulam district, who is also the state Industries Minister, said their target in the by-election is to touch 100.
"The key agenda of the by-election is going to be development and the K-Rail (the pet project of Vijayan). The station of K-Rail in Ernakulam district is planned at Kakkanad, which comes under this constituency. This election is going to be held between the Left, who are for development and the others, who are out to thwart a prestigious project," he said.
As soon as the bypoll date was announced, the ruling Left Democratic Front has given the charge to its newly-appointed convener E.P. Jayarajan, and his key aides will be Rajeev and M. Swaraj, a firebrand young party leader who suffered a shock defeat while trying to retain the Tripunithura Assembly constituency in last year's Assembly polls.
However, the Left appears to be on the back foot as two stalwarts -- Vijayan and CPI-M state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan -- are out of the country to undergo medical treatments.
The last date for filing of nomination is May 11 and neither of these leaders are expected to be here by that time and hence will be keeping track of the developments from their hospital beds in the US.
The BJP which secured 15,483 votes and finished third in the April 2021 polls is contemplating to field former seven-time legislator P.C. George, who lost from his home turf in 2021 polls.
George is the chairman of the Kerala Janapaksham party, presently cut away from all the three political fronts and is on his own.
But the developments that need to be watched is the new found link between the AAP and the Twenty20, which is presently in power in a few local bodies in and around Ernakulam.
Twenty20 is headed by Sabu Jacob, who heads the Kitex group of companies, which was in the news last year when he after having difference of opinion with various departments of the Kerala government against his business units decided to make a fresh investment of over Rs 3,000 crore in Telangana, that gave him a rousing welcome.
"AAP is now a national party and we are confident of working here and will see how best we can come out," he said.
With Uma Thomas now cleared, all eyes are on the CPI-M's candidate as in this constituency, till now they have fielded only party backed candidates and the question now going around is will they filed a party candidate or try their luck with an independent candidate and it could be someone like the daughter of the now estranged Congress veteran K.V. Thomas, presently stripped of all positions in the Congress for his act of indiscipline, or perhaps someone else.
So this bypoll could see a four-cornered contest, a rarity in Kerala.