By-election for Oommen Chandy’s Puthuppally Assembly seat to be held on 5 Sept; son is Congress candidate

The constituency is lying vacant following the demise of former chief minister Oommen Chandy on 18 July, 2023.

BySouth First Desk

Published Aug 08, 2023 | 6:15 PM Updated Aug 08, 2023 | 8:08 PM

File photo of Oommen Chandy.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday, 8 August, announced the by-election for the Puthuppally Assembly constituency in Kerala, which fell vacant after the demise of former chief minister Oommen Chandy.

Including Puthuppally, by-elections will be held for seven constituencies on 5 September in Dhumri in Jharkhand, Bokanagar in Tripura, Dhanpur and Dhupguri in Bengal, Ghosi in Uttar Pradesh, and Bageshwar in Uttarakhand.

According to the notification released by the ECI, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effective immediately.

Oommen Chandy’s son, Chandy Oommen, will be the Congress candidate in the byelection, party president Mallikarjun Kharge announced within hours of the ECI notification.

Related: ‘Family member to replace Chandy as Puthuppally candidate’

Schedule of the by-election

Candidates are required to file nomination papers on or before 17 August. Nominations will be scrutinised on 18 August and the candidates can withdraw their applications till 21 August.

According to the notification, the result of the elections will be declared on 8 September.

Chandy represented the Puthuppally constituency for five decades. He was elected to the Kerala Assembly from Puthupally in 1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021.

After Oommen Chandy: His legacy, and the new political possibilities in Kerala

The main candidates

The CPI(M)’s candidate is expected to be Jaik C Thomas, a leader of the Students Federation of India (SFI) — the party’s student arm — who lost the 2021 Assembly election to Oommen Chandy by a margin of 9,044 votes.

As far as the UDF was concerned, there was little doubt that the constituency would naturally go to the former chief minister’s son Chandy Oommen, a national-level office-bearer of the Indian Youth Congress.

Chandy Oommen. (Facebook)

A graduate of St Stephen’s College in Delhi, Chandy Oommen was also part of the Bharat Jodo Yatra by Rahul Gandhi.

During the last journey and funeral, Chandy Oommen sat close to his father’s body for one night and two days and made an emotional speech at the end.

Chandy Oommen’s statement requesting the police to drop the charges against the actor Vinayakan — who had made disparaging comments about the late chief minister — also went down well with those who revere his father.

The UDF has a tradition of fielding a close relative of a departed leader in by-elections.

In the recent past, KS Sabarinathan replaced his late father G Karthikeyan in Aryanad, while Anoop Jacob became an MLA in place of his late father TM Jacob in Piravom.

Uma Thomas won the byelection in the Thrikkakara constituency last year when her husband PT Thomas died following an illness.