After hours of suspense, Congress veteran from Kerala K Sudhakaran has said that he will not be contesting the upcoming Assembly elections in the state from Dharmadam, which is the constituency that incumbent Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is contesting from. The Congress high command as well as the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) had requested Sudhakaran to stand from Dharmadam in Kannur. But Sudhakaran says he has declined the offer ‘for the larger good of the party.’
“Congress’s political goal this election is to win five Assembly seats in Kannur. To ensure this, my presence is needed in all constituencies. All of us from Congress in Kannur have the same opinion — that me contesting this time will not be in the best interest of the party’s district unit,” Sudhakaran told the media on Thursday.
Sudhakaran also admitted that the offer was too last minute. “I am not protesting how last minute the decision was. But there are some preparations that have to be done ahead of elections in a constituency. We are unable to do that because the decision was last minute,” he said.
Referring to the protest against the Irikkur Congress candidates by local Congress leaders, Sudhakaran said that it was important for him to be present in order to iron out differences among party workers and DCC (District Congress Committee) leaders. He also added that he will be visiting all constituencies in Kannur and campaigning for the candidates.
Sudhakaran also added that the district Congress leadership unanimously proposed Raghunath from the party to contest from Dharmadam.
“He is a well-known figure and he has risen in the party by starting from the lowest ranks of the Kerala Students Union (KSU) — the student wing of the party,” Sudhakaran added. The Congress high command as well as the KPCC have been informed of the district leadership’s candidate choice and will take a call on this soon, he added.
With only one more day left for candidates to file their nomination papers (the nominations close on Friday, March 19), the Congress is pressed for time in finalising a candidate in the constituency. The CPI(M) has fielded CM Pinarayi Vijayan from Dharmadam and he has already finished multiple campaigns in the constituency.
Another candidate who is contesting from Dharmadam is the mother of the two minor sisters in Walayar who were sexually assaulted and were found hanging from their house in 2017. She is contesting from Dharmadam as an independent candidate in order to challenge Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. The Congress is likely to extend support to the candidate, Sudhakaran said, as the issue was major and had rattled the state.