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Congress MPs from Kerala told to be present in Parliament


New Delhi: The group of 14 Congress MPs from Kerala, including Rahul Gandhi, which is the biggest block of legislators from the party nationwide, on Monday were asked by state party chief Mullapally Ramachandran to ensure their presence in Parliament on all days.

In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF swept the Lok Sabha polls, winning 19 out of the 20 seats and the UDF increased its tally from eight to 15 seats, with its allies IUML getting two seats and one seat each for the RSP and Kerala Congress (Mani).

Ramachandran told the media here that he has briefed members from his party to ensure that all of them are present on all days in the House and take active part in the proceedings.

"I used to be present on all days when I was a member," said Ramachandran, who was a member of the outgoing House and also for six terms earlier, however he did not contest the polls this time.

Of the 52 Congress MPs in the new Lok Sabha which opened its first session on Monday, 15 - the highest from any state - are from Kerala and it includes first-timers Dean Kuriakose, Remya Haridas, V.K. Sreekandan and Rajmohan Unnithan.

63-year-old Unnithan who won from Kasargode reacted on his first day, saying it is a "dream come true".

"Even though I unsuccessfully contested two Assembly polls, my dream was always to be a member of the Lok Sabha and today it has become true," said a beaming Unnithan who shot to fame when he split with Congress veteran K. Karunakaran in 2004 and after that he also acted in 20 films.

32-year-old Haridas defeated sitting CPI-M P.K. Biju who was aiming for a hat trick of wins from Alathur. She said she comes from the downtrodden class.

"I come from Alathur which is one where a huge majority of the people are very common people, like me. I am excited, I have won and I will raise issues of people like me in the house," said Haridas who becomes the first Scheduled Caste woman from Kerala to become a Lok Sabha member.

The others who have won include four sitting members - Shashi Tharoor, Anto Antony, Kodikunnil Suresh, and M.K. Raghavan - apart from party chief Rahul Gandhi who won with a record-breaking margin of over four lakh votes from Wayanad.

The rest include former Lok Sabha members K. Sudhakaran, and sitting legislators K.M. Muraleedharan (son of Karunakaran), Hibi Eden, Adoor Prakash and Benny Behanan, who is also the UDF convenor and the one who trounced hugely popular comedian and sitting CPI-M-supported MP Innocent.

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