Rahul to launch campaign in Kerala on Thursday

Rahul to launch campaign in Kerala on Thursday

Congress president Rahul Gandhi being presented a memento at the party's state level convention near Marine Drive in Kochi on January 29. PTI

Congress president Rahul Gandhi will formally launch the election campaign of the Congress-led United Democratic Front in Kerala on March 14, even as disagreements over candidate selection in the state remains unresolved.

The inauguration will begin with Rahul attending a Congress rally in Kozhikode district in north Kerala.

He is also scheduled to visit the families of Pulwama terror strike martyr Vasantha Kumar in Wayanad district and two Youth Congress workers murdered allegedly by CPM workers in Kasaragod.

He will also inaugurate a National Fishermen Congress in Thrissur district.

Meanwhile, the Congress-led UDF is yet to finalise it candidates for a majority of seats, even as the name of former chief minister Oommen Chandy is doing the rounds for Idukki.

AICC general secretary and sitting MP of Alappuzha K C Venugopal is already out of the fray. There are also rumours that Oommen Chandy is keen on debuting his son, Chandy Oommen, an active member of the Youth Congress.

A strong tussle is also on for the Ernakulam constituency, as sitting MP K V Thomas is keen for another term while local MLA Hibi Eden is also a strong contender.

Even though the formal announcement is yet to come, Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has launched a campaign in Thiruvananthapuram sitting seat, eyeing a hat-trick.

Congress sources said the party is trying to finalise candidates at least by Wednesday, ahead of launch of the campaign by Rahul on Thursday.

Another headache to the UDF in the in-fighting in Kerala Congress (M), a key coalition partner. The P J Joseph faction and the K M Mani faction are both staking claims for the Kottayam seat. Thomas Chazikadan, a former party MLA, may emerge as a compromise candidate.