Pan India

With Assembly bypolls near, rival Kerala fronts get into top gear

The first sign that the by-election will not be far, came when the entire top brass of the Congress paid a sudden visit to the residence of Thomas, near here the other day and called upon the widow of Thomas.

Kochi: The date for the bypoll to the Thrikakara Assembly constituency in Kerala’s Ernakulam district is yet to be announced by the Election Commission, but all the parties have started making the political moves.

The bypoll was necessitated after Congress legislator P.T.Thomas passed away on December 22, 2021.

The first sign that the by-election will not be far, came when the entire top brass of the Congress paid a sudden visit to the residence of Thomas, near here the other day and called upon the widow of Thomas.

Those who were there included Congress general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal, state Congress president K. Sudhakaran, Leader of Opposition V.D. Satheesan, Congress-led UDF convenor M.M. Hassan and many others.

Thomas had one term in the Lok Sabha and was a four-time legislator.

In 2016 and 2021, Thomas won an easy victory from Thrikkakara Assembly constituency in Ernakulam district.

At the 2016 polls Thomas defeated veteran Sebastian Paul of the Left with a margin of 11,966 votes and five years later Thomas increased his victory margin to 14,329 votes and on both occasions there was a wave in favour of the CPI-M led Left Front.

Though the top brass of the Congress leaders are tight-lipped on the reason for the visit, those in the know of things said it was to give the green signal to the widow of Thomas — Uma Thomas — that the entire party is strongly behind her and they want her approval to step into her departed husband’s shoes.

Satheesan said the moment the date for the by-election is announced, “we will need just three hours to name the candidate.”

Uma, a Brahmin by birth, and Thomas were both very active in the Congress politics during their student life and later they married.

Uma is also tight-lipped about her future, but the Congress party knows that if Uma enters the electoral arena, she will be taking the pole position and it would be an easy cakewalk for the party, which presently is struggling on all fronts.

A media critic on condition of anonymity said for the faction-ridden Congress party, clearing Uma’s name would not be an issue.

“Sudhakaran and Satheesan got their posts only after the party high command intervened and did not consider the opinion of the faction managers of the party here. It’s their first challenge and they would not like to risk a sure victory by bringing in some other candidate. Likewise, the top faction leaders like Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala also do not have any second opinion in the candidature of Uma,” said the critic.

For Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan the win is important. If he is able to win the bypoll, it will ensure that not only will the ruling Left reach the century mark of legislators in the 140-member Assembly, but also will give him the biggest confidence booster ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

And to achieve that, his first move turned out to be a success when he was also able to bring to the party’s 23rd conference, estranged Congress veteran K.V. Thomas, who hails from Ernakulam and the search for a suitable candidate has also begun.

Given the nature of the constituency, with a sizeable Christian population, the CPI-M will in all probability field an independent candidate, who will not be a party card holder.

State BJP president K.Surendran said they will be putting their best foot forward and will ensure the poll battle will be a real triangular fight.

The political parties expect the election to take place before the monsoon sets in.

Source
IANS

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