New Delhi: With the Kerala Assembly polls nearing, the Congress is yet to declare its chief ministerial candidate and is expected to go to polls without naming the candidate.
The party, which has leaders like Oommen Chandy and Ramesh Chennithala, are not willing to announce its CM face until the elections are over. However, several political analysts have said that the announcement of a certain candidate might not be acceptable to certain section of voters who may move away to the opposition. The analysts also said that there is a rift between Chandy and Chennithala factions and announcement of any one of the candidates may upset the other faction.
Meanwhile, a Congress spokesperson said that the party will decide the CM face only when election is over and after the approval of the “high-command”. N.M. Pearson, a political analyst, told The Sunday Guardian, “The Congress fears that the announcement of Oommen Chandy or Ramesh Chennithala would upset the Christian or Nair communities, and they might shift to some their rivals. In order to maintain a balance, the party is not announcing the chief ministerial candidate.” Chandy is a Christian and Chennithala belongs to the Nair community and is the current leader of Opposition. A good number of people from both of these communities are the core voters of the Congress. Chandy is considered to be one of the popular chief ministers in Kerala and an able administrator and a taskmaster. Chandy has been credited with winning the 2019 general elections, where the Congress won 19 parliamentary seats out of 20. He was considered the strategist behind Rahul Gandhi’s win in Wayanad in 2019. It may be noted that Rahul Gandhi had lost his family bastion Amethi while contesting BJP’s Smriti Irani.
Prabhash J, a political commentator, told The Sunday Guardian, “There is a wide rift between the Chandy and Chennithala factions in Kerala Congress. Announcement of any one of the candidates as the chief minister face may upset the other faction. To maintain unity just ahead of the elections, the party is not announcing the candidate.”
According to reports, in January last year, the entire Kerala top brass was summoned by the Congress to Delhi to end the factional feud and find and an amicable solution.
In 2013, when the Congress was in power in the state, the rift between the two factions had widened after then Chief Minister Chandy refused to induct Ramesh Chennithala as the home minister. At the time, the simmering tension between both the factions had resulted in clash between supporters of both leaders. However, Congress spokesperson P.T. Chacko denied rift between the two leaders. Chacko told the Sunday Guardian, “There is no rift between the two leaders. The Congress is united and will contest elections with full confidence. The CM face would be announced only after the elections are over with the approval of the high command. This has been the custom for a long time and every time and in every election, we announce our CM only after the election.”