Chennithala to Lead Polls Campaign in Kerala

The Congress will contest 16 seats in Kerala, while the rest of the four seats will be contested by the constituent parties…reports Asian Lite News

AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday appointed senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala as the chairman of the Congress’s Lok Sabha election campaign committee in Kerala.

In a statement, the AICC said that the Congress president has approved the proposal for the appointment of Chennithala as the chairman of the campaign committee of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee for the upcoming general elections with immediate effect.

The Congress will contest 16 seats in Kerala, while the rest of the four seats will be contested by the constituent parties, announced Kerala Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan after the party’s Central Election Committee meeting on Thursday.

Prominent among them are AICC General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal and CWC member Shashi Tharoor. Kerala has 20 parliamentary seats.

Chennithala’s appointment coincides with the Congress’s decision to once again nominate Rahul Gandhi for the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat.

The Congress has fielded all the sitting MPs except T N Prathapan in Thrissur.

The constituents of the Congress-led UDF will contest the four other seats, with the Indian Union Muslim League fielding candidates in two segments and Kerala Congress (Joseph) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) each fielding one.

The party-led UDF had won 19 out of 20 seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The number decreased to 18 after the Kerala Congress (M), which won the Kottayam seat, switched over to the CPI(M)-led LDF before the 2021 assembly polls.

Notably, Congress on Friday released its first list of candidates for 39 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The names have been announced for Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Lakshwadeep, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, Telangana and Tripura.

MLAs Battle in Vadakara

The Vadakara Lok Sabha seat in Kerala will see a direct battle between two sitting legislators from the traditional political rival fronts.

Pitted against one another are former Health Minister and senior CPI-M legislator K.K.Shailaja (Mattanur assembly constituency) and Congress candidate – the sitting legislator Shafi Parambil (Palakkad assembly constituency).

The Congress high command has decided to shift the sitting Congress Lok Sabha member K.Muraleedharan to Thrissur.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Muraleedharan won with over 84,000 votes.

K.K.Rema, now a legislator who won an assembly seat in the district with the support of the Congress-led UDF is leading the campaign of Parambil.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP’s candidate managed to win 80,000 votes.

Though Shailaja was the first to hit the campaign trail, the massive reception given to Parambil on his arrival in the constituency to begin his campaign has sent shockwaves to the CPI-M camp.

Poll officials suspended

Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Kerala Chief Electoral Officer has ordered the suspension of two poll officials after a voter in Beypore town of Kozhikode district was found with three voter identity cards.

The Kozhikode District Collector has been directed to suspend one Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and one booth level officer.

This decision comes in the wake of the discovery of three voter ID cards issued to a single individual in Beypore.

The individual in question, Shahir Shahul Hameed, a resident of Beypore, was found to possess three separate voter ID cards. Shahir, who had a voter ID card, submitted his application two more times (on September 23 and December 1, 2023) and received the additional cards.

Shockingly, each application was accompanied by different identification documents – Aadhaar for the first, and Passport for the second.

Furthermore, it was disclosed that Hameed had declared his name to be absent from the voter list in his applications.

As a result, one Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) and one booth level officer have been suspended by the Kozhikode District Collector under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, in accordance with directives from the Chief Electoral Officer.

Additionally, the individual found in possession of the duplicate voter ID cards may face imprisonment of up to one year under the same Act.

A show cause notice was issued to the Kozhikode Collector, demanding an explanation for the lapses in oversight.

Chief Electoral Officer Sanjay Kaul said that after preparing the draft voter list, all District Collectors have been directed to carry out strict examination through EROs and BLOs to find out whether names have been added to the voter list by submitting false applications in the same manner. (ANI/IANS)

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