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NCP Leader Mani C Kappen to Contest as LDF Candidate in Pala Bypoll in Kerala

Representative image of the CPI(M) logo. (Reuters)

Representative image of the CPI(M) logo. (Reuters)

This will be the fourth contest of 63-year-old Mani C Kappen as a candidate of LDF from the same constituency. On all the earlier occasions he was defeated by KM Mani who represented the seat from its inception in 1965.

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Chandrakanth Viswanath

Thiruvananthapuram: The ruling CPM led Left Democratic Front (LDF) will field Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Mani C Kappen as its candidate in the by-election to the Pala Assembly seat which fell vacant following the demise of former minister K M Mani.

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 April 9 following a brief disease.

KC(M) is a major coalition partner of the opposition Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF).

This will be the fourth contest of 63-year-old Kappen as a candidate of LDF from the same constituency. On all the earlier occasions he was defeated by KM Mani who represented the seat from its inception in 1965. However, he could reduce the margin from 7,759 in 2006 to 4, 703 in 2016. In, 2011 he lost the battle for 5,259 votes.

"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.

The son of a former member of Parliament Cherian J Kappen who was also a freedom fighter, Kappen is a well-known figure in the Malayalam film field. A producer of about ten films and an actor in around two dozen films, he has two films to his credit as a director including a bilingual in Assamese and Bengali. He was also an international Volleyball player in the eighties.

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.

In the last nine elections in the last four decades, the constituency has elected only one LDF candidate from the LDF, KM Mani in 1980.

The by-election will be held on September 23.


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