14 October 2009
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 13: Battle lines have been drawn for Nov 7 by-elections from three Kerala assembly constituencies, as the Congress leadership Tuesday cleared the names of the candidates suggested by the state unit.
Polls are due in Kannur, Ernakulam and Alappuzha - the three seats which fell vacant after the sitting Congress legislators were elected to the Lok Sabha in the April-May general elections.
The ruling Left Democratic Front has already announced its candidates, while state Congress president Ramesh Chennithala announced the party list here Tuesday.
At Kannur, the Congress has popped up a surprise by deciding to field A.P. Abdullah Kutty, two-time Lok Sabha member from the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) who was booted out of the party ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Kutty takes on CPI-M heavyweight M.V. Jayarajan, a two-time legislator who did not contest the last assembly polls in 2006.
Dominic Presentation, a three-time Congress legislator from Palluruthy in Ernakulam district who lost the 2006 polls, will take on P.N. Sinilal (CPI-M), who is fighting an assembly election for the first time.
"In fact, Sinilal and myself were in college together. We also met yesterday. But now we are fighting elections from opposite camps," said Presentation.
At Alappuzha, the Congress is fielding district party president A.A. Shukur agaist Communist Party of India (CPI) youth leader G. Krishnaprasad. Both are contesting an assembly election for the first time.
"I consider this as a responsibility put on me by the party and I take it up," said Shukur.
The Kannur seat is expected to see the stiffest battle. The CPI-M, which has never won from Kannur in nearly four and a half decades, will not like to lose the seat to somebody who was a party man till a few months ago.