With merely three weeks left for the Assembly election on April 6, Congress in Kerala is hit by a wave of resignations after KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran announced the list of candidates contesting in the upcoming elections on Sunday. Several District Congress Committee (DCC) presidents and local leaders have expressed their disappointment over the candidates picked by the party high-command to contest the Kerala Assembly polls.
UDF leader and KPCC member P Mohanraj announced that he is resigning from the party on Sunday. In a teary speech to the media, Mohanraj said that the party had promised him the Aranmula seat, which has now been offered to K Sivadasan Nair.
In Kannur's Irikkur constituency, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) General Secretary Sony Sebastian, secretaries MP Murali, Chandran Thillankeri, KV Philomena, VN Jayaraj, UDF district chairman PT Mathew, KPCC members Thomas Vakkathanam, NP Sreedharan, Chacko Palakalody were among those who resigned from their posts in protest against the decision to field Congress candidate Sajeev Joseph from the seat.
So far, 21 District Congress Committee office bearers, seven Block presidents, and eight Mandal presidents in Irikkur have resigned en masse. The leaders have also sworn to not campaign in any constituency where the Congress is contesting in the district.
In Thiruvananthapuram's Vattiyoorkavu constituency, which sees a lot of support for the BJP, Congress leaders resigned following the announcement that KP Anil Kumar will be the candidate of the United Democratic Front (UDF). Local leaders will hand over their resignation letter to KPCC President Mullappally Ramachandran in protest against the selection of Anil Kumar, whom they say is an 'imported candidate'.
On Sunday, the Kerala Pradesh Mahila Congress president Lathika Subhash resigned from her post and tonsured her head in protest as the party had denied her a ticket from Ettumanunur. She said she was protesting against the party for not fielding enough female candidates.
Former KPCC President and party veteran VM Sudheeran told the media that “the party had failed to rise up to the expectations of the people” while choosing candidates, and called it 'unfortunate'.
"In many places, deserving candidates, who had the winnability factor, were left out and there is a strong reaction from Congress supporters against this. In fact, this is the first time in the history of the Congress in Kerala that we are seeing such a widespread protest. The fact that the party has left out deserving candidates can only be seen as a weakness. Not much attention has been given to this," Sudheeran told the media.
He also alleged that the party leaders selected candidates based on individual and group interests over the desires of the party and the people.