Hopes of dissident Kerala Congress (Mani) leader PJ Joseph to be given the Idukki seat were dashed on Friday with the Congress High Command clarifying that its allies in the UDF need not be given more seats.
The Congress allotted two seats to Indian Union Muslim League and one each to RSP and Kerala Congress (M). However the latter asked for another seat as its working president Joseph asserted that he would be contesting. But with party supremo announcing the candidature of Thomas Chazhikkadan for the allotted Kottayam seat, Joseph knocked at the Congress door. There was demand within Congress to either ask Mani to change its candidate or have Joseph contest from Idukki and back him.
But the latest order from the High Command has made it clear to Joseph that Congress would not personally back him. Joseph told mediapersons on Friday that he would take a final decision on Saturday.
According to reports, the High Command is said to have pulled up the party state leadership for delay in finalising candidates. It is believed that party president Rahul Gandhi was upset over the ways of the party's state leadership.
The High Command decision to ensure best candidates for all its 16 seats will not mean just Joseph going out. The League demand that the UDF back slain communist rebel TP Chandrasekharan's widow KK Rema, in Badagara is also not acceptable to the party central leadership.
The party screening committee is meeting later in the day and will be attended among others by senior leaders like AK Antony, Oommen Chandy and KC Venugopal. There is likelihood of Venugopal contesting the elections from Wayanad, it is learnt.