Pala bypoll: Mani C Kappan nominated as LDF candidate

Thiruvananthapuram: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C Kappan will contest as the nominee of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) in the 23 September bypoll to Pala assembly constituency.

An NCP meeting on Wednesday nominated Kappan as their candidate, which was later approved by the LDF, party sources here said. The bypoll was necessitated in Pala, located in Kottayam district, following the demise of Kerala Congress (M) supremo and former Finance Minister K M Mani, who passed away on 9 April following a brief disease.

KC(M) is a major coalition partner of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF). Kappan, also a film producer and actor, is trying his electoral luck for the fourth consecutive time now from Pala, which had been represented by Mani for over five decades in the State Assembly.

All the three times he had lost to Mani, who had been one of the leading figures of Kerala politics for nearly five decades. “Mani C Kappan was unanimously chosen as the candidate. Our decision was conveyed to LDF, which approved it,” senior NCP state president Thomas Chandy said, announcing Kappan’s candidature.

Expressing confidence about his victory, Kappan said the absence of a strong and seasoned leader like Mani would be a favourable factor for the ruling front.

Meanwhile, the infighting within the KC(M) over who would be the candidate has put the UDF in a dilemma. Talks are on to settle the tussle between the two warring KC(M) factions led by Mani’s son and Rajya Sabha MP, Jose K Mani and the senior leader and MLA, P J Joseph. Nisha, wife of Jose K Mani, is said to be a front-runner on the candidate list, party sources said. The BJP-led NDA is also expected to announce their candidate soon.