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    Tussle for Kuttanadu assembly seat

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    Tussle for Kuttanadu assembly seat
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    Thiruvananthapuram:  All three political fronts in Kerala -- the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), CPI-M led Left Democratic Front and the Bharatiya Janata party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) -- are in quandary about the selection of candidates for the soon to be announced Kuttanadu Assembly constituency bypoll.

    The seat fell vacant after the three-time sitting legislator Thomas Chandy, the Kerala chief of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) passed away last month. He had defeated Kerala Congress (Mani) candidate Jacob Abraham by 4,891 votes in the 2016 Assembly polls.

    On Tuesday Chandy's wife wrote to the CPI-M state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that neither she nor their children were interested to contest the polls and it should be given to his brother Thomas K. Thomas.

    However, this request by Chandy's wife has taken the NCP by surprise and it came at a time when they were getting ready to identify Chandy's successor.

    After this development, CPI-M, who as per sources, was contemplating to put up their own candidate this time instead of the NCP. The CPI-M believes that it has a strong cadre base in Kuttanadu which can give it the required advantage to win the seat.

    The Kerala Congress (Mani) after the death of party supremo K.M. Mani last year is deeply divided between his son Jose K. Mani and senior legislator P.J. Joseph. Both have made their claims for the seat.

    Senior Congress leader and Lok Sabha member K. Muraleedharan has already warned the UDF leadership against making their differences known in the public. He has cautioned that under no circumstance should the warring factions of the Kerala Congress (Mani) wash their dirty linen in public otherwise they may face a repeat of the Pala Assembly seat, which was lost after 52 years in the bye-election last year after K.M. Mani's death.

    Muraleedharan went to the extent of suggesting that if there was any discord between the warring factions of Jose and Joseph, then the Congress should take over the seat.

    Likewise, last time the BJP-led NDA had given the seat to its second biggest ally, Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS), and leading businessman Subhash Vasu secured over 33,000 votes and put up a good fight.

    However, Vasu last week slammed BDJS chairman Tushar Vellapally, clearly signifying that this time it will not be a united BDJS which would be fighting the polls.

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