Speculation begins over Congress candidate for constituency represented by Oommen Chandy
Barely days after the death of Congress stalwart Oommen Chandy, speculation is rife over whom the grand old party would choose to replace him in the constituency he represented for 53 years with the party and its ally IUML on Sunday stating there will be no dispute on who would be the candidate.
In an apparent indication that the candidate would be someone from the family of the late veteran leader, who died in Bengaluru on July 18, Congress leader Cherian Philip said that all three children of Chandy were politically aware and capable of playing a significant role in the party.
Philip, while primarily pushing for Chandy's son -- Chandy Oommen -- to be the "heir" to the position vacated by the late Congress leader, also batted for Chandy's two daughters -- Achu and Maria -- saying they too would be welcomed into the party if they chose to enter politics.
In a Facebook post, Philip said that Chandy Oommen was qualified in every way to replace the late Congress leader as he understood the Congress culture, and how his father worked and became the leader of the Youth Congress at the national and state level through his own hard work and ability.
Chandy Oommen had also walked many kilometres barefoot in Rahul Gandhi's Bharat Jodo Yatra, Philip said.
Regarding Achu, he said that she had left active politics after getting married and that her sister was politically conscious from a young age.
Therefore, if they decide to enter politics, at a time when women are getting opportunities in this field, the Congress party and its workers will be ready to welcome them.
At the same time, in his post, Philip also said that Chandy was not in favour of his children being part of active politics and was of the view that one member of the family was enough.
Congress leader and MP K Muraleedharan said, at Kozhikode, that once a by-election is announced for the Puthuppally seat, the party's candidate would be decided immediately and there would be no arguments or disputes regarding the selection.
On being asked by reporters whether the candidate would be a member of Chandy's family as was being suggested by many Congress workers, Muraleedharan said that the party will take everything into account while making its decision.
P K Kunhalikutty, the National General Secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), too said that there would be no problems in deciding a candidate for the by-election.
"Puthuppally and Kerala deserve continuity of the same standards set by Oommen Chandy. The Congress party will decide who should represent the constituency and there will be no issues with that decision. There will be no dispute over the candidate selected by the party," he said.
Oommen Chandy, who served as the chief minister of Kerala twice, breathed his last in a private hospital in Bengaluru on Tuesday. His end came while undergoing treatment for cancer, party sources said. He was 79.