After days of uncertainty, the Congress has finally picked a candidate to contest against Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Kannur’s Dharmadam. The party has chosen Kannur District Congress Committee (DCC) General Secretary C Raghunath, a day before the final day of filing nomination papers. Raghunath filed his nomination on Thursday afternoon.
The seat was given to Raghunath after Congress leader K Sudhakaran declined the offer citing his busy schedule ahead of the Assembly polls in Kannur. After declining the offer, it was K Sudhakaran who reportedly suggested Raghunath’s name for Dharmadam. According to reports, the Congress candidate had filed his nomination papers even before the announcement from the party high command in Delhi.
The KPCC and the AICC had earlier asked Sudhakaran to contest from the seat. However, he declined the last minute offer, after thanking the leadership for the opportunity. According to Sudhakaran, the UDF’s electoral goal was to win five Assembly seats in Kannur and this would be difficult if Sudhakaran did not campaign in all the constituencies and support candidates ahead of elections.
He also added that his presence was crucial to iron out differences in constituencies such as Irikkur, where the party’s leadership was unhappy with the candidate choice. Ironing out these issues would be difficult in his absence, Sudhakaran added.
Apart from CM Pinarayi, who has already begun campaigning in the constituency, the other major candidate in Dharmadam is CK Padmanabhan for the BJP. He was head of the party in Kerala from 1998 to 2003.
In the 2016 Assembly elections, Pinarayi had won in Dharmadam with a 38,000-vote lead over the second candidate, Congress’ Mambaram Divakaran.
Voting for the Kerala elections will take place on April 6 and the results will be announced on May 2.