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Friday, June 14, 2024

Two top-notch Kerala politicians waiting to launch their sons, but will it be successful?

Two of Kerala’s topmost politicians, who have had very long innings and are in last lap of their distinguished political career, are seriously engaged in doing their best to launch their sons’ political career, before they bow out from electoral politics.

First one is 78-year-old two-time former Congress Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, who just the other day wrote himself into record books by becoming the longest serving legislator by beating late K.M. Mani.

Since 1970, Chandy, who has been representing the Puthupally assembly constituency and has won a record 12 assembly elections, is seriously mulling to place his son- Chandy Oommen to field him in either 2024 Lok Sabha polls, or in 2026 assembly polls.

The other leader is 81-year-old Kerala Congress supremo P.J. Joseph who represents the Thodupuzha assembly constituency in Idukki district and like Chandy he first won his election in 1970, but he lost the polls in 1991 and 2001 assembly elections.

Joseph is presently into his 10th term as a legislator and he has already set the ball rolling to field his son Appu John Joseph, who in all likelihood will be contesting in 2026 assembly polls.

However gone are the days, when top-notch Congress-led United Democratic Front leaders could place their son into the father’s shoes and the only person who managed to escape from the ire of the average aspiring politicians aiming for a seat was K. Muraleedharan, son of legendary Congress leader K. Karunakaran.

Karunakaran first placed his son when he was the be all and end all of the Congress party in Kerala in the eighties, but he had to beat a hasty retreat when he tried to place his daughter Padmaja Venugopal too into electoral politics.

Despite Padmaja being fielded in one Lok Sabha and two assembly polls, she was unable to win at these polls and is now an office bearer of State Congress party, still waiting for that elusive victory, when Muraleedharan has had a few terms in the Lok Sabha and won twice to the assembly.

A political critic on condition of anonymity said even though Chandy known for his astute political brain and has moulded numerous Congress leaders, with age catching up and falling health, it might not be that easy like what he thinks.

“Gone are the days when Chandy had an iron grip over his faction which was the one that led the party for close to two decades. That scene has changed and now there are a few leaders all trying to prove that they are the topmost leaders in the party could play spoilsport for Chandy. The problem for both Chandy Oommen and Appu John Joseph is they did not create their own space by working at the grassroots, instead they enjoyed the powers that came through their fathers. Along with the ‘powers’ they enjoyed, had they worked a bit harder at the grassroots, it would not have been that difficult. Also murmurs have already begun in the way both Chandy and Joseph are trying to place their sons and it has not gone down well in their parties, as there are a few who have been eyeing these two seats for a long time,” said the analyst.

Incidentally, both Chandy and Joseph know that their late colleague K.M. Mani placed his son Jose K. Mani, had initial hiccups, as his first outing ended in defeat and only later was Jose able to win.

And in the 2021 assembly polls , Jose had to bite the dust at the Pala assembly constituency which his father won a record 13 times as not many of those in the Kerala Congress (M) and the local electorate was upset when Jose took his party to the Left Democratic Front just before the 2021 assembly polls.

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed reports that another top Congress veteran- former Defence Minister A.K. Antony who recently returned from Delhi after his Rajya Sabha term ended, is also mulling to field one of his two sons, into electoral politics.

“The problem is due to their clout in their respective parties getting a seat for their children might not be a difficult task, but will it please those who have toiled hard in the party and the electorate and that time only will tell,” added the political analyst.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed)

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