While the Congress has fielded 11 female candidates, 55% of the candidates are new faces.

Collage of Congress candidates contesting 2021 Kerala Assembly election Oommen Chandy K Muraleedharan and Ramesh Chennithala
news 2021 Kerala Assembly Election Sunday, March 14, 2021 - 17:24

Amid fights within the party over fielding certain candidates and multiple sessions of reviewing, the Congress has finally released its list of candidates who will be contesting the 2021 Kerala Assembly election on April 6. The Congress in Kerala will contest from 92 out of 140 Assembly seats. However, the party has only announced candidates for 86 Assembly seats. The party has fielded 11 female candidates, while 55% of the candidates will be new faces. Many senior leaders, who have been contesting for decades, have been kept out of the race for the purpose of introducing new faces. Among the 86 candidates, 27-year-old Aritha Babu will be the youngest candidate of Congress.  

After a five-day screening committee meeting and more meetings with the party leadership in Delhi, Kerala Congress Pradesh Committee (KPCC) President Mullappally Ramachandran on Sunday announced the list of candidates for 86 out of 92 seats that the Congress will contest from this election. The party high-command will further deliberate on candidates for six seats namely Kalpetta, Nilambur, Vattiyoorkavu, Kundara, Tavanur and Pattambi and release this list later. 

The Congress has decided to field party veteran and former CM Oommen Chandy from his home constituency of Puthuppally. This is after Congress cadres protested, and even blocked Oommen Chandy’s car, following reports that he would be fielded from the Nemom seat this time around. 

Former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is one of the few veteran Congress leaders who is contesting this election. 

Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala will also contest from his stronghold of Haripad in Alappuzha. 

The Nemom constituency in Thiruvananthapuram, one of the most debated seats, has been allotted to a sitting Member of Parliament (MP) from Vadakara, K Muraleedharan. On Friday, the Congress leaders had said that no MPs will be roped in for the election. “Ideally, no MPs should contest in Assembly polls. But, it was critical to have a bog candidate for this seat as the fight is against the BJP,” said Mullappally Ramachandran. Hours before the candidate list came out, Muraleedharan spoke to the media, stating that the party leaders were trying to get an exemption from rule that sitting MPs cannot contest in the polls.

The fight for the Nemom constituency would be one of the toughest in the state as both Congress and CPI(M) are vying to wrest the seat from BJP. Nemom is the only constituency of the BJP in Kerala, which is currently held by O Rajagopal. The BJP has fielded Kummanam Rajasekharan for the seat. 

Incidentally, the Congress leadership had found it particularly tough to pick a candidate for the Nemon constituency. According to reports, the party high-command asked Oommen Chandy and Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala to come out of their comfort zones in Puthupally and Haripad respectively — and to contest in Nemom. However, both leaders had rejected this. The names of senior leaders K Muraleedharan and Shashi Tharoor were reportedly considered for Nemom. 

Introducing its youngest candidate, 27-year-old Aritha Babu, Mullappally Ramachandran said, the candidate hails from a marginalised family. “She will dedicate her time to political campaigns. We are proud to have her as our candidate,” he said. Among the other noted women candidates are Padmaja Venugopal who will contest from Thrissur, Shanimol Usman from Aroor and Advocate Bindhu Krishna from Kollam.

However, Mahila Congress leaders have slammed the Congress leadership for not allotting sufficient seats for women candidates. Reports had earlier said that at least 20% of the seats will be allotted to female candidates.  

Among the other familiar faces, Congress had fielded film actor Dharmajan from the Scheduled Caste reserved seat in Balussery in Kozhikode district. Notably, local leaders in Balussery had earlier expressed their discontent over fielding Dharmajan, who is not a native of the place. 

 Out of the 86 candidates announced on Sunday, 46 are aged between 25 and 50 years, 22 are aged between 51 and 60 years of age, 15 are aged between 60 and 70 years, while three are above 70 years old. 

 According to Mullappally Ramachandran, KPCC President, 15 of the candidates are undergraduates, there are 42 who are graduates, 12 post-graduates, two Ph.D holders and two are medical practitioners.  

The candidate for six seats — Kalpetta and Nilambur in Wayanad, Vattiyoorkavu in Thiruvananthapuram and Kundara in Kollam, Thavanoor in Malappuram and Pattambi in Palakkad — will be announced probably by Monday, Mullappally said. 

Among the constituent parties of the United Democratic Front (UDF), which is led by the Congress, only the Indian Muslim League (IUML) has finalised its list of candidates for 24 seats. They are yet to finalise the candidates for three more seats. 

UDF has decided to support KK Rema of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) from Vadakara, if she decides to contest. She is the wife of late RMP leader TP Chandrasekheran, who was earlier with the CPI(M) and was hacked to death in May 2012.

List of candidates

Kasaragod

Udma - PV Balakrishnan

Kanhangad - PV Suresh

Kannur

Taliparamba - Abdul Rasheed PV

Irikkur - ADV Sajeev Joseph

Kannur - Satheeshan Pacheni

Peravoor - Advocate Sunny Joseph

Thalassery - MP Aravindakshan

Payyannur - M Pradeep Kumar

Kalliasseri - Bridesh Kumar

Wayanad

Mananthavady - PK Jayalakshmi

Sulthanbathery - IC Balakrishnan

Kozhikode 

Balussery  - Dharmajan PK

Kozhikode North - KM Abhijith

Beypore - Adv Niyas

Nadapuram - Advocate K Praveen Kumar

Malappuram 

Ponnani - AM Rohit

Wandoor - AP Anil Kumar 

Palakkad

Thrithala - VT Balram

Shoranur - T Firoz Babu

Ottapalam - Dr Salim 

Malampuzha - SK Ananthakrishnan

Palakkad - Shafi Parambil

Tarur - KA Sheeba

Chittur - Sumesh Achudan

Alathur - Palayam Pradeep

Thrissur

Chelakkara - CC Sreekumar

Kunnamkulam - K Jayashankar

Wadakkanchery  - Anil Akkara

Manalur - Vijaya Hari

Ollur - Jose Vellur

Thrissur - Padmaja Venugopal

Nattika - Sunil Lanoor

Pudukkad - Anil Anthikad

Kaipamangalam - Shoba Subin

Chalakudy - TJ Saneesh Kumar 

Kodungallur - MP Jackson

Ernakulam

Perumbavoor - Eldhose Kunnappilly

Angamaly - Roji M John

Aluva - Anwar Sadhath

Kunnathunad  - VP Sajeendran

Paravur - BG Satheeshan

Vypeen - Deepak Joy

Kochi - Tonni Chemmani

Tripunithura - K Babu

Ernakulam - TJ Vinod

Thrikkakara - PT Thomas 

Muvattupuzha - Mathew Koelnaadan 

Idukki

Devikulam - D Kumar 

Udumbanchola - Adv EM Augustin 

Peerumade - Cyriac Thomas 

Kottayam

Vaikom  - Dr PR Sona 

Kottayam - Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan 

Puthuppally - Oommen Chandy 

Kanjirappally - Joseph Vazhekkan 

Poonjar - Adv Tomy Kallani 

Alappuzha

Aroor - Shanimol Usman

Cherthala - S Sharath 

 Alappuzha - KS Manoj 

Ambalappuzha - Adv M Liju

Haripad - Ramesh Chennithala

Kayamkulam - Aaritha Babu 

Mavelikkara -  KK Shaju

Chengannur - M Vali 

Kollam

Kottarakkara - Reshmi R

Pathanapuram - George Kumar Chamakala

Karunagappally - CR Mahesh

Ranni - Ringoo Cherian

Aranmula - K Sivadasan Nair

Konni  - Robin Peter

Adoor - MG Kannan

Chadayamangalam - MM Naseer

Kollam - Adv Bindhu Krishna

Chathannoor - Peethambara Kurup

Thiruvananthapuram

Chirayinkeezhu - Anoop BS

Nedumangad - PS Prasanth

Vamanapuram - Aanadu Jayan

Aruvikkara - KS Sabarinath

Kattakada - Malayinkeezhu Venugopal

Kazhakkoottam - Dr SS Lal 

Thiruvananthapuram - VS Sivakumar

Nemom - K Muraleedharan

Parassala - Ansajitha Rasal

Kovalam - M Vincent

Neyyattinkara - R Selvaraj

Varkala - VRM Shafeer

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.