With two days left for withdrawal of nomination papers for the Assembly elections, row over the United Democratic Front’s (UDF) candidate in the Elathur constituency in Kozhikode turned murkier on Saturday when Congress workers almost came to blows at a meeting held at the party district committee office.
Presently, Sennin Rashi, a student leader of the Bharatiya National Janata Dal (BNJD), Sulfikkar Mayuri of the Nationalist Congress Kerala (NCK) and Congress rebel U.V. Dinesh Mani — all UDF allies — have filed their nomination papers.
Initially, the Elathur seat was offered to the BNJD, which has some political presence in the constituency. The party has committees in five grama panchayats and five elected representatives in the Chelannur grama panchayat. M.K. Raghavan, Kozhikode MP, and local Congress leaders, are opposed to the candidature of Mr. Mayuri, who they claim is not familiar with the constituency.
Saturday’s meeting was convened by the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee to arrive at a consensus, which was mediated by KPCC working president K.V. Thomas. Soon after the meeting began in the morning, minor altercation followed when it was declared that only senior leaders needed to stay back and others could leave. Mr. Thomas is learnt to have later told the local leaders to accept Mr. Mayuri’s candidature.
More talks soon
Mr. Raghavan, however, categorically declared that he was not willing to do so. He also offered to resign from the post of MP in protest and walked out of the meeting. There had been reports that Mr. Mani has been propped up by Mr. Raghavan. It was decided that another meeting would be held later in the afternoon.
However, the impasse continued, with Mr. Thomas later telling the media that the sentiment of the workers would be conveyed to the KPCC leadership and another round of discussions would be held with the DCC functionaries in the coming days.