Pala gone; Congress nervous about 5 remaining bypolls?
Thiruvananthapuram: Having lost its traditional stronghold of Pala in Kerala in the bypoll this week, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) is nervous about the remaining five Assembly bypolls in the state on October 21.
The Congress is contesting on four seats, while the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), its second biggest ally, is contesting on one.
The Congress top brass has gone on record to state that Pala was lost because of the infighting in the Kerala Congress-Mani -- its third biggest ally.
With Kerala Congress-Mani still a divided house and both former party chief K. M. Mani's son Jose K. Mani and veteran legislator P. J. Joseph vying to become its chairman, the Congress is worried whether the upcoming five bypolls would go the Pala way.
Former Congress chief V. M. Sudheeran said the Pala setback was shocking for the UDF. "The result shows that no one can take the people for granted. The UDF should realise that this is a warning from the people and the leadership should seriously introspect. Infighting should not happen again," said Sudheeran.
Another former party president M. M. Hassan said even though the loss at Pala is for Kerala Congress-Mani, it's a warning for the UDF as a whole.
"People do not want political parties to be at war. Everyone knows how K. M. Mani kept the Kerala Congress-Mani going, but the infighting in the party now has spelt doom for that party and this is a signal for all," said Hassan.
While the CPI-M has announced candidates for the five bypolls, the Congress and the BJP are yet to release the names. September 30 is the last day for filing nominations.
The UDF held four -- Vatiyoorkavu, Ernakulam, Konni and Manjeswaram -- of the five Assembly constituencies going for bypolls. The CPM held the Alappuzha Assembly seat.
While IUML MLA A. P. B. Abdul Razack passed away last year, UDF's three other legislators K. Muraleedharan, Hibi Eden and Adoor Prakash as well as CPM MLA A. M. Ariff resigned from the Assembly being elected to the Lok Sabha in May.