Amid growing discontent among a section of Congress workers over selection of candidates for the April 6 Assembly polls, senior leader AK Antony on Wednesday urged them to end their differences and work together to ensure a change of government in the state. He said the party high command never made "unnecessary intervention" in selection of candidates for Assembly polls, but admitted that adequate representation was not given for women in the list.
Claiming that Kerala will see a UDF government coming to power after ending the five year rule by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Antony urged "all those who believe in democracy" to work together to achieve that goal.
"There are some leaders who have complaints over selection of candidates. I request them to obey the high command's decision and work for the victory of UDF candidates in the election,” Antony told reporters in New Delhi.
He said the discussions on selection of candidates have ended after the high command gave its approval for the list.
On senior party leader K Sudhakaran's charge over selection of candidates in some constituencies in Kannur district, he said the former had informed him he was doing his best to increase the number of seats of the party there.
Sudhakaran on Tuesday had attacked AICC general secretary (Organisation) KC Venugopal and veterans Ramesh Chennithala and Oommen Chandy, alleging that they were responsible for all troubles in the state Congress due to selection of candidates.
To a query on revolt by Mahila Congress leader Lathika Subhash over denial of ticket from Ettumanoor seat, Antony admitted that women were not given adequate representation. But other parties, including CPI(M) and BJP had also not allocated enough seats for women, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the high command has issued an order to Congress leaders and workers against making 'anti-party' statements on the candidates list and the Assembly elections.
Referring to the directive, Venugopal said he would not like to make any statements, but lauded the list, saying the party has named candidates who have great chances of winning the maximum number of seats in the election.
"We have only one aim...that is winning the election. There may be some differences, but that will be set aside and Congress and the UDF will fight as a single force to win the election," he told reporters in response to a query.
Meanwhile, the party's candidate in Irikkur in Kannur district, Sajeev Joseph, said he will file his nomination on Thursday. On Tuesday, a convention of "A" group workers had decided to urge the high command to withdraw his candidature from Irikkur and field their leader Sony Sebastian.
Joseph said peace has been established in Irikkur and all the leaders and workers would work together to win the seat. The "A" group workers had said winnability should be the criteria and Sajeev Joseph would not be able to win Irikkur seat, a party stronghold, in the election.
The two groups, "A" and "I", have been active in the state unit of Congress since the period of veteran leader late K Karunakaran and senior leader AK Antony.
A section of Congress leaders, protesting allocation of Elathur Assembly seat in Kozhikode district to new UDF constituent NCK, said that they would field KPCC executive committee member UV Dinesh Mani as a rebel candidate.
NCK leader Sulfikkar Mayuri is the UDF candidate from the seat. But local Congress leaders said the party should take over the seat from NCK and field its own candidate.